Riviera Beach, Fla. – Ashley Walker, 33, of Riviera Beach, has made her mark in history. She describes herself as the mother of one, a ﬁrst generation entrepreneur, and now a restaurateur.
She’s not just any restaurateur, but this owner of the new Smoothie Me Please shop has made a move that’s taking the business world by storm. Her new smoothie store is located in the building that housed the iconic Dairy Belle Ice Cream Shop, noted not just in Riviera Beach but the county and the state. Many have memories of leaving Singer Island beach and heading back across the Blue Heron Bridge and waiting in line to get a vanilla shake from world famous Dairy Belle.
But no one imagined back then, that the iconic building would one day house a Black business owned by a young, African American female millennial who’s on a mission to provide healthy food choices and pay homage to her hometown of Riviera Beach, a predominantly black waterfront city situated North of West Palm Beach.
Riviera Beach City Manager Jonathan Evans said Walker did exactly what they hope all young residents of the city would do. She went to college and got a good education, came back home, and not only started a business in the city, but is putting her community’s health and
wellness at the forefront. Smoothie Me Please is home to delectable smoothies, sandwiches, soups, fruit bowls, salads and more. The items all have catchy names that pay homage to neighborhoods, schools and landmarks throughout the city. “For instance, the Monroe Acai Bowl is named after my childhood neighborhood, Monroe Heights,” explained the savvy businesswoman. She said another great example is “The Coast" Power Bowl, a parfait topped with granola, kiwi, and peaches to resemble the green and gold from Suncoast High School, a Riviera Beach school which is natonally ranked as one of the top high schools in the nation.
And even though careful thought went into the interesting and unique names of the menu items, the overall mission was the health of the residents and patrons. “It’s important to me to bring a business to Riviera that focuses on health and wellness because our community deserves access to fresh fruit and veggies,” she explained. “The Riviera Beach community experiences a disparity for healthy foods and is largely surrounded by restaurants with no health solutions. I wanted to be a part of the solution for our food gap problem.”
Not only does she see the larger picture when it comes to Blacks and health, but she also doesn’t take lightly her responsibility as a black business owner, and being a double minority. “Being a Black woman in business and opening a storefront in a predominantly Black neighborhood is super special to my mission. I want my peers and elders to see the possibilities of creating a strong ecosystem when we spend money with black owned companies. Those companies have an obligation to serve the community that supports them.”
Clearly not your typical entrepreneur or restaurateur, it’s no wonder she beat out the competition in Riviera Beach’s Community Redevelopment Agency’s business incubator program designed to provide funding and support to emerging minority businesses. Walker won the grant from the CRA to operate Smoothie Me Please. The City Council, CRA board and staff and Mayor Ron nie Felder were on hand for her grand opening in January.
Through tears she thanked everyone for their love and support.
Smoothie Me Please is located at 2635 Broadway in Riviera Beach.