PORTLAND, Ore. — Cydnie Smith-McCarthy remembers when she realized she should open her own juice shop. The whole idea came together in the midst of COVID-19.
"I was at home and my job was kind of in a halt stage trying to figure everything out. So, I started juicing and doing smoothies," said Smith-McCarthy. She started making juices for people, created her own juice bottles and it eventually led her to open Drink Mamey on Northeast Killingsworth Street.
"We sell cold-pressed juices and smoothies and we are looking to incorporate more Black-owned vendors who also specialize in wellness.”
Smith-McCarthy opened the juice bar in the neighborhood she grew up in last weekend.
“A lot of the Black people who grew up in this neighborhood were pushed out into further areas and there’s not a whole lot of Black families that live in the area," she said. "I think having a Black-owned business in the heart of somewhere where we used to grow up is really important to kind of like bring back Black-owned businesses, Black families and Black culture to the neighborhood.”
She wants to let others who look like her know they can do it too. "I think representation is very important and I find that there’s not a lot of that specifically in Portland. So I think that’s really the message. Anybody can do it. What I’m doing, it just takes a lot of hard work and dedication.”
The 26-year-old and her business partner funded Drink Mamey on their own. She offered this advice to other entrepreneurs, "I kind of never gave up on knowing that I wanted to do, something to help my community and if that's something that you’re passionate about I just say, go for it, even if you fail 10 times get up 11 times and try it again, something will stick."
Drink Mamey is opened Thursday through Saturday. The space also has wellness items from other local small business owners of color. Smith-McCarthy wants to make sure to help others and give them a launching pad for their work.