We had the good fortune of connecting with Christina Kaney and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Christina, what role has risk played in your life or career?
My “risk tolerance” is what has gotten me to where I am today. It’s important to not let fear get in the way of you taking risks. Of course you need to weigh out the pros and cons of your decisions – especially when there’s risk involved – but it’s also important to take into consideration that you can still experience “gains” even if your risk results in a loss. For example, I like to visualize what the worst case scenario would be and look for the value that might also come from it. This value could be in the form of lessons learned, experience, lack of regrets, or just knowing that you don’t have to wonder what could have been, because you actually lived it!
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I own a smoothie bar in Midtown, Atlanta. We focus on high quality, organic products as well as delivering the best customer experience possible. We’ve tried to make our menu as transparent as possible – no hidden sugars, fats, etc. because we want our customers to make an informed decision about what they’re putting in their body. There’s too many options out there that pose as healthy meals but really they’re filled with junk. On the customer experience side, we wanted to create an atmosphere where people feel welcome, relaxed and happy. We aim to be Midtown’s little escape to paradise. It’s been a long journey to get to where I am today. Opening a smoothie bar was my dream from college, but back then I didn’t have the resources to open the shop that I was envisioning. So, that dream was put on the back burner and I started my career in technology. Over the years I continued to conceptualize what Squeez could be and then finally in March 2020 I decided to pull the trigger. Squeez is a pandemic baby. I had many ideas of contactless operations and I knew that if I didn’t implement them myself I would just watch other companies execute on ideas that I’ve had for years. The pandemic was going to force everyone to adapt and innovate, and I didn’t want to watch from the sidelines as it happened.
Of course starting a restaurant business in the midst of a pandemic was challenging, to say the least. In addition to the normal challenges of starting your first business, I also had to deal with slow turnarounds for permitting and licensing, abnormally high construction costs and long wait times for materials and the constant stress and worry that another full lockdown could derail everything. At the end of the day though, patience and perseverance prevailed and we opened our doors in July 2021. I think the biggest takeaway from this experience is the importance of adaptability. If you can roll with the punches and adapt to whatever is thrown at you, you’ll find a way to succeed!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Alright bestie, this is what we’ve got on the itinerary:
Favorite dinner spots (vegetarian friendly): Ruby Chow’s, Alma Cocina, Forza Storico, Little Trouble, Antico’s
Favorite breakfast/brunch/lunch spots (vegetarian friendly): Velvet Taco, Barcelona Wine Bar, Squeez, Bread & Butterfly
Nightlife (we’re going dancing every day) : Tuesday @ Plaka Taverna for BachataTuesday night, Wednesday @ Tongue&Groove for Latin Night, Thursday @ Eclipse di Luna Dunwoody, Friday @ Sanctuary, Saturday @ Havana Night Club, and Sunday back to Taverna Plaka for Sunset Salsa night.
Stuff for in between: BeltLine, Piedmont Park, High Museum of Art, Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Shoot the Hooch…and Waffle House
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would a fool to claim that my success is based solely on my own efforts and tenacity. I’ve been blessed with a wonderful family that has always challenged me and expected the best, as well as a wonderful support system of friends and colleagues that provided me with mentorship and encouragement that have helped me get to where I am today. Surrounding yourself with dreamers, go-getters and leaders is a great way to stay inspired and feel supported.