PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WVEC) -- A Portsmouth small business owner won a national prize of $10,000.
Kisha Brown said it’s not just going to change her life, but her entire neighborhood.
Candy, cookies, cake and ice cream are just some of the ingredients in Freak Shake, one of Kisha Brown’s specialties which she plans to sell at her new shop on Afton Square called the Shake & Smoothie Company.
“There are a lot of children in this neighborhood, I figured the neighborhood would be really receptive to having a shake and smoothie company here,” said Brown.
Brown was supposed to have the grand opening this month, but a bitter-cold winter caused the pipes to burst, putting everything in jeopardy.
“It was all underwater, it was all flooded out, all the way from the back all the way to this front door, up about an inch,” said Brown pointing to the floor.
Afraid her ice-cream filled dreams might not come true, Brown entered the VISA Cashless Challenge. All she had to do is explain why her business is going cashless.
“Since there are no summer youth employment programs I wanted to have youth working for me, and I wanted to keep them kind of safe so I wanted to find ways to eliminate cash,” said Brown.
Turns out the Shake & Smoothie Company was one of 50 small businesses in the country and the only one in Virginia to win the $10,000 prize.
Brown said it’s one of the main reasons she is still able to open up the store.
Tony Herdon owns Hard Times Skate Shop on Afton Square. He said bringing new businesses to the area has been a challenge and this is a big win for everyone.
“It increases awareness that we are out here and it’s a good thing for the community versus always having a bad vibe or bad news coming out of the area,” said Herdon.
Edwin Street is the president of the Cradock City League. He said Afton Square needs help when it comes to improving its image and this is a good start.
“When we have access to quality products and businesses it changes that perception, that there is something to do,” said Street.
The Shake and Smoothie Company is planning their grand opening this May, and there will be representatives from Visa in attendance to help celebrate.