Since we’re in Hawaii, we thought it was only right to spotlight this local shop for our next #tfcuinspires series. We’re looking to you, Wow Wow Lemonade – Danville! We spoke to the owner, Seth Neri, who told us all about his upbringing to how Wow Wow Lemonade got started in Danville to even share his words of advice to future entrepreneurs! If you’d like to hear the whole audio interview, keep scrolling!
ON WHO HE IS
Born in the Philippines. Came here 5-6 years old. Mother is a mestiza – grandfather was white from WW2, a pilot who married my grandmother who is a nurse. That’s how we were able to migrate here in the United States. Learned English from the bottom – up. There’s four of us, older brother and older sister, and a twin (the youngest). We grew up in Daly City. Our parents, coming from the Philippines, they had everything. They left everything to come out here because they feel like they could give more opportunity for the children. They feel like coming out here was giving more education, opportunities to succeed in so many ways. Dad worked at night, mother in the daytime. Had to watch us while working. Mom was banking. Dad was in hotel services. Grew up not as privileged. My parents believed in being thrift, especially my dad. He wouldn’t spend a whole lot of money. Never really bought materialistic things. Really more into values. Rather share wisdom and value rather than giving a toy. Majority of my life, I grew up in Daly City.
I joined military out of high school. Spent 6 years in the Marines. Always wanted to pursue Law Enforcement. That was my passion. I felt like public service was my thing. I felt like service was my calling. Once I got out of the military, I went into law enforcement. I currently work for the Oakland Police department and I’m a sergeant there. Been there for 20 years now. Ever since I look back, life’s been good.
ON HOW WOW WOW LEMONADE IN DANVILLE GOT STARTED
From being there from 20 years, I realized you’re not gonna be wealthy. Public service is one thing. I’ve always loved to serve the public. But I always wanted to also stretch myself. Take risks in life. That’s always something I kind of thought about. Fast forward, we were on vacation a couple of years ago and in Oahu, Turtle Bay. My wife (Carolynn) decided she was gonna get me a drink, we were out there by the beach just enjoying the scenery. She walked off an hour later I’m like, “Where’s my drink at?” She was very excited and goes, “Guess what, we’re gonna buy this franchise.” I’m like, “What are you talking about?”
Carolynn had met Natalie (co-owner) who was working as a bartender to pay off her business loans. That’s when she was very excited to share her story about how she was involved with Wow! Wow! So she invited us to her store in Halawa. The line was out the door!
At first, I was kind of skeptical. What’s so spectacular about this lemonade? Of course, we went out there and had our first lemonade. It was a unique taste. 6 months later, we ended up buying the franchise.
HIS ADVICE FOR SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO START A BUSINESS
One thing a person has to accept is being able to take risks. Risks to a point where I think that, if you have a vision or something you believe in and you’re very passionate about it, regardless of what people will say. There will be haters out there. There will be people out there who will criticize you and I think if you believe in whatever you decide to do and you put the effort 110% in, and you just do it and not look back, you will get to success. You will be able to understand that it takes imagination in order for your action to do it. Once you actually do it, it’s not gonna be easy. There’s gonna be more failures. You have to learn from your failures to be successful. I’ve failed so many times in my life and you learn from it. When you fail, there’s a personal growth inside of you.
You understand to not do this, don’t go there, don’t do that. But I think that failing is part of success. But going back to that, you have to be willing to take risks. Not just that, your family, your significant other, hopefully, they are involved in that decision making because you’re gonna need the support that you need. You can’t do this alone. You have to think about risk. You have to be able to take a risk. Be able to also understand that you can lose it too. When you lose it or you fail, be able to get back up stronger. I failed so many times in my life but I learned a lot from my failures. This is just the beginning. I’m gonna continue to fail as I move forward. As long as you learn from your failures, there’s personal growth inside that you actually learn. There’s a moral of value to it.
WHAT MAKES WOW WOW STAND OUT
Our beverage is handcrafted meaning that they’re made when you order it. Everything we use is fresh produce and organic. We don’t have a freezer here. So if we’re out of the products, we’re out of the products. We’re not gonna substitute with something that’s not real or frozen. We keep it fresh. One thing different is just the quality. You actually taste the produce. It’s something that I fell in love with the first time I had it in Hawaii. Even to this day, there’s a drink that I never tasted before and I have these guys make it. I’m like, “This is delicious!” I think that’s why people are coming back because the taste is very unique and the taste is one that people will remember when they walk out. We’re excited.
ON HIS RECOMMENDED LEMONADE ORDER
The one I recommend is the Lava Flow. It’s one of our signature drinks which is Pina Colada, coconut, pineapple mixed with our lemonade with fresh strawberry puree on top to create that lava flow. I will recommend that if you love that different mixture and sweetness of it. There are always so many things on the menu that you’ll love whether you like watermelon. Whether you like ginger. Pineapple. Coconut. It all depends on what you feel like having that day. But I recommend the lava flow.
We’d like to thank Seth and the staff at Wow Wow Lemonade for allowing us to come to their shop and chat! To learn more about Wow Wow Lemonade, click here.