HAMPTON, Va. - Inside Smoothie Stop's now seven-month-old store in Hampton's Peninsula Town Center, local race car driver Brenden Queen tries his hand at making a smoothie.
It's called "Flat-out for the Food Bank."
"It's really cool to be a part of something like this that I can help others that are less fortunate," Queen, who races at Langley Speedway, told News 3.
The new smoothie -- featuring orange, mango, strawberries and other fresh fruits -- was created in honor of the News 3 Food Drive, an effort to support local food banks, in anticipation of our visit. Smoothie Stop says it will donate a portion of sales over the next couple weeks to the food bank to help feed people who are hungry.
"Of course, we have to make money to support our business, but it's always been about going outside the four walls of our business and trying to reach the community," said Chris Taylor, a minister who opened the first Smoothie Stop four years ago along with his wife, Kim, and business partner, Chris Dilkes, both also ministers.
The original location, located in Virginia Beach on Virginia Beach Boulevard, is currently displaying art created by children staying at ForKids, a Norfolk organization dedicated to helping kids and families experiencing homelessness.
"We want to support local initiatives that are going to stay in the Hampton Roads area to benefit those that may not come into the store but, you know, just give back," said Taylor.
Fortunately for Smoothie Stop, success has allowed that mission to continue.
The business, known for smoothies, cold-pressed juices, wraps and other healthy foods, opened its second and third locations, including the one in Peninsula Town Center, in 2020. A fourth is on the way on Laskin Road in Virginia Beach in June.
"Smoothie Stop is about simple, healthy, fresh. We don't add any sugar to our smoothies," said Chris Dilkes, who tells News 3 sales held up well during the COVID-19 pandemic. "People have been coming to us for healthy things. It's good for immunity."
Dilkes knows personally the impact eating healthy can have. He says he lost roughly 50 pounds last year from a diet change that included periodic three-day juice cleanses.
That story is right in line with the inspiration behind Smoothie Stop -- Chris Taylor's great-grandmother, who lived to be 105 years old.
"We started making her smoothies and [her] digestive issues cleared and she started having more energy," said Taylor. "A couple years later, my dad got ill and the doctor said, 'Give him smoothies' and it helped extend his life another 30 days."
A first-hand experience of how focusing on healthy, fresh food can go a long way in improving and extending a person's life.