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Cool Fruit Sensations

Founder: Don Harding Jr.

COOL FRUIT SENSATIONS’ 100UE BLOG: CLICK HERE!

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2257 North Villagegreen Street, Harvey, LA 70058 • (504) 367-0676 • donhardingjr@aol.com

To read a Q&A with Cool Fruit Sensations’ Don Harding Jr., click here.

Cool Fruit Sensations is a natural-beverage company that blends top-quality fruit with natural sweeteners to create a refreshing, healthful line of drinks.

HOW MENTORING WILL HELP: I’m an operations guy. I know that the time is now to open our first location, but I don’t know the best way to make that happen and give us our best chance at success. I’m hoping to get a game plan that gets me there. I have drive, determination and commitment; some guidance is all I need.”

HOW $10,000 WILL HELP: Marketing and branding are the keys to our future. Nothing we do is proprietary, so the more exposure we get, the more we run the risk of somebody pulling the rug out from under us. In addition to marketing and branding, some of the funding, combined with money that we already have in place, will help us acquire our first physical location.”

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AS SALES PITCHES GO, Don Harding Jr.’s is elegantly simple: “Who down South, with our blazing heat, would turn down a refreshing fruit beverage made by hand, right in front of you, using fresh fruit?” he asks. Hey, search us. We’ll take one — and we’re not alone.

Harding’s company, Cool Fruit Sensations, has been in business since late 2008. It’s headquartered in Harvey, Louisiana, just south of New Orleans, and the product is straightforward: strawberry, kiwi, pineapple, watermelon, orange, blueberry, mango or peach are variously combined with lemon, lime or tea to create one of a possible 25 drink combinations. It’s healthful, it’s refreshing . . . and it’s selling like mad.

“My wife, while bored at home, started playing around with different fruit combinations,” Harding, 49, says. “We introduced a couple at a farmers’ market, and the response was ridiculous. We started out making $200 at farmers’ markets; now we gross as much as $10,000 for a two-day festival.”

Harding and his wife (who run Cool Fruit Sensations along with Harding’s brother) are born entrepreneurs: They also run a staffing agency, Know-It-Alls, from which they’re able to hire additional help whenever they need it. They might soon need plenty; Harding’s immediate goal is to open his first physical retail space. “We’re constantly bombarded with the question, ‘When are you guys going to open your first location?’ ” Harding says. “The next step is to do exactly that.”

Once it opens, Harding is probably correct to assume even greater sales. Healthy, top-quality ingredients, expertly prepared, it seems, are a hit wherever they’re offered. “All our drinks are made individually by hand, using real fruit,” Harding says. “We’ve competed with alcohol, water, soft drinks, yogurt, popsicles, smoothies and beer. Nothing has been able to sell next to us.” •