By Sydney Kaplan ’17
Aishah Avdiu ’17 is not your typical senior girl. While many students spend their afternoons playing on a sports team or spending time with friends, Avdiu has started her own business: a Kombucha cafe.
Bar ‘Bucha, a name penned by Avdiu, is a cafe and store located at 601 Riverside Avenue that serves Kombucha, which is a fermented drink made with a black tea base. The fermentation of it is “very similar to the beer making process” according to Avdiu.There happens to be a 1-2 percent alcohol content in the drink due to this process, but Avidu explains that “it’s negligible and doesn’t qualify as being alcoholic.” and may be consumed by minors. Kombucha comes in a variety of different flavors. Avdiu plans on carrying the more basic flavors like ginger and mixed berry as well as more unique flavors like lavender chamomile and citrus hops.
Avdiu claims Kombucha is not only flavorful, but is also healthy. “It aids in digestion, it’s good for your skin, it has antioxidants, and so many more health benefits as well,” Avdiu said. “I’m curating different brands from all over the country… just like a microbrew beer, every brewer has a different flavor,” Avdiu said.
Though it has only become popular on the East Coast in the past couple years, Avdiu originally learned about Kombucha 10 years ago when her mom introduced it to her family. Avdiu came up with the idea for this store over the summer.
Maddie Jones ’17, a close friend of Avdiu, looks forward to the opening. “So many adults drink Kombucha as a health tonic and it will be a really cool attraction [for the town],” Jones said.
Avdiu says her store is special because “there is no store that is a retail experience where you could go and have access to over 15 different brands of Kombucha at once,” Avdiu explained.
Avdiu was happy to land a prime location at a reasonable price, but that was only the beginning states for opening her business. “The minute I got the go ahead that I got the space, for two weeks I was in constant contact with the health department, zoning department, and building department to pull the permits that I needed. That was probably the hardest part so far,” Avdiu said.
All the behind-the-scenes effort she has put into the business has been worth it to her. “I don’t think of it as work. Because I’m so passionate about it. It’s not something that feels like a struggle to me. [All the hard work] feels like another step toward having this actually happen, which is something that I am really excited to do,” Avdiu said.
Avdiu plans on running the business herself after school along with the help of volunteers.“I’ve taken all the finance and business related classes that Staples has to offer, so I am perfectly capable of handling the stores accounts,” she explained. A part of the process that Avdiu has had to deal with is the financial aspect of starting her own business. Avdiu explains that she is completely self funded and that she is using her own money. “I’ve financed it myself with the idea of paying myself back as the store is profiting. It’s not a huge initial investment. While it’s a lot of money in terms of being 17, it’s not a lot to have to cover everything in the end. A huge battle has been being cost effective,” Avdiu said.
. The way she was able to combat this challenge was to get a lot of her furniture and decorations second hand. “I bought a bar from a restaurant that closed down and I bought all my cabinets from the Garelick and Herbs on the Post Road that closed down. Doing things like this made me able to keep all of my overhead [costs] really low so that I can start profiting as soon as possible” explained Avdiu.
Close friend Tess Rubin ’17 is impressed by Avdiu’s ability to balance all of her responsibilities. “Aishah has worked really hard to make this business come to life, and I am really proud of her for being able to balance everything along with it,” Rubin said. “She balances her schoolwork and her social life well with all of the time and energy she spends on her business.”
In the future, Avdiu hopes that the store will prosper, so that she can eventually hire full time staff along with managers, so that while she is in college, she can just be an overseeing owner. She hopes to study business in college to further her knowledge, and loves the idea of possibly creating even more Bar ‘Bucha’s in the future if her first one does well. “It’s been amazing to watch the transformation of the store,” Avdiu said. “And it’s very surreal to be the one managing everything and putting my ideas into something real.”