Local business owner John Serda started his first business in 1999 in Costa Rica while pursuing a master’s degree in international business at the University of South Alabama.
It was called Millennium Cyber Café, and he exported Costa Rican coffee, to much success, back to the United States and Canada. Java product was mailed directly from a Central American post office prior to his return to Mobile in 2001.
“They didn’t have FedEx or UPS, but I didn’t mind walking over the packages because it was the only building in town with air conditioning,” Serda said. “I had a couple hundred customers all over the U.S. and Canada who ordered religiously.”
Fast forward to 2006 when he opened his first coffee house in West Mobile, enduring an economic decline, before moving downtown, to 3 S. Royal Street, a year later to continued success.
“The export business lasted around seven years and it’s where I developed my love for coffee. It basically financed the opening of my first business in Mobile,” he said.
Serda had a busy year in 2017 as he ventured into the world of beer with the ribbon cutting of a downtown brewery built out from a blighted former Goodyear Tire property. A second coffee shop also welcomed customers in Daphne that year.
Two years later marks the announcement of a third venture, taking a tangential track away from the brewing of coffee or beer: vitamin- and supplement-infused hangover prep/recovery powders called Prepear and Repear.
“Getting older, I’ve noticed my hangovers were getting worse, while not drinking much when going out socially,” Serda said. “It was getting so bad I almost went a year without drinking.”
“About two years after that. I read an article in Men’s Journal where they did a study on people who drank 8 ounces of Asian pear juice before taking in alcoholic beverages. It was shown to mitigate the effects of hangovers by up to 21 percent,” he said.
Inspired by the study, and after consulting with oncologist Dr. Michael Meshad, owner of the Recovery Room in Daphne, Serda came up with the idea for concocting the powder. The products will be initially sold from his businesses with the long-term goal of distribution to retailers throughout the area.
Serda reportedly invested $40,000 in research, development, marketing and packaging for the products and is launching an Indiegogo campaign, kicking off next Tuesday, for 30 days to raise capital for production ramp up.
“I want to raise $25,000. The money will help with manufacturing. We want to come out of the gate producing 20,000 sticks, 10,000 for Prepear and 10,000 for Repear,” Serda said. He went on to say that various gifts and prizes will be offered for different donation levels, ranging from a $35 minimum to a $1,500 individual cap.
More information about the campaign can be found on the Indiegogo website (the day of kickoff) at indiegogo.com/projects/repear-2-stage-alcohol-recovery-drink-mix.
Business moves, transactions
Malbis Plantation Inc. recently acquired an 11,000-square-foot parcel of property located at 6001 Airport Blvd. in Mobile from a local healthcare company. Jill Meeks with Stirling Properties worked for the landlord in the lease of the property to Infirmary Home Health Agency Inc. in Mobile.
Per a news release, Malbis Plantation Inc. is the board of directors that represents the shareholders of the historical Malbis Plantation property near Interstate 10 on State Route 181 in Baldwin County. Stirling Properties serves as the asset and property manager for the entity, handling day-to-day operations.
In Baldwin County, Malbis Plantation Inc. also picked up a 20,000-square-foot industrial building, located at 30065 Highway 59 in Loxley, as an income-producing investment. The purchase price was $1.58 million, and the property is currently 100 percent leased by Newport News, Virginia-based Ferguson Enterprises. Andrew Dickman with Stirling Properties handled the transaction.
The roughly 10,000-square-foot Walmart Neighborhood Market, located at 1970 S. University Blvd., held a reopening ceremony last week to recognize significant upgrades, with an added grocery pickup option, new lighting and an improved pharmacy area.
The move is part of the big-box retailer’s initiative to modernize selected stores nationwide. The big-box retailer reportedly set aside $69 million in Alabama for 2019 to remodel 14 locations statewide. Two stores in Mobile and one in Bay Minette were chosen.
Bartow, Florida-based PalletOne Inc., a large, new pallet manufacturer, has acquired locally owned Bay Wood Products Inc., a pallet and crate manufacturing business headquartered in Robertsdale.
Jimmy Wilson, founder of Bay Wood Products with a group of investors 25 years ago, will remain as general manager. PalletOne also owns another Alabama-based pallet manufacturing plant in Selma.
Paul Carter with the Paul Carter Agency reported that an 8,350-square-foot, locally owned property, sitting on a half-acre and located at 1778 Beltline Highway in Mobile, was sold to local investors for $170,000. The site sat vacant for several years prior to acquisition, per Carter.
Plans are in place to open the space as an automotive business sometime early next year after extensive renovations using local contractors. Tim Herrington with Herrington Realty worked for the sellers. Carter represented the buyers.
Play Café has leased some 1,600 square feet of space located at 4504 Old Shell Road, Suite B, adjacent to Big City Toys, and near the intersection of McGregor Avenue in the Spring Hill area of Mobile. The new business is a parent-supervised play center for infants, toddlers and preschoolers, ranging from 1 to 5 years of age
The 11,800-square-foot property located at 600 Government St., currently the home of Serda Brewing Company, was recently acquired by local investors for $1.35 million. The brewery will operate uninterrupted while continuing to lease the space. Cameron Weavil with the Weavil Company worked for the sellers. Gary Lambert with Exit Realty Lyon represented the buyers.
A local investor acquired a 5,000-square-foot, mixed-use property for $180,000 that includes an office/retail building, auto body shop and two rental houses, located at 10220 U.S. Highway 43 in Creola. Sharon Wright with White-Spunner Realty managed the transaction. Development plans for the site were unknown as of press time.
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