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Shake Smart

Powering Healthy Lifestyles

  • Owner:

    Kevin Gelfand and Martin Reiman

  • Location:

    San Diego, CA

  • Industry:

    Juice and natural foods retailer

  • Year in Business:


In 2011, San Diego State University students Kevin Gelfand and Martin Reiman set out in search of a way to live healthy lifestyles while managing busy schedules and the daily distractions that often lead to unhealthy choices for students. Three years later, Shake Smart, their business that offers a varied menu of shakes, smoothies, coffee drinks and a yogurt bar for consumers looking for inexpensive and convenient options while on-the-go, extends far beyond its first location on the SDSU campus.

Shake Smart’s high-quality nutrients make its products the perfect meal replacement, which can be customized to meet dietary restrictions such as gluten and lactose intolerance. The first student-run business on campus, Shake Smart was nominated to represent San Diego State for Forbes’ All Star Student Entrepreneurs program. Gelfand, the company’s president, appeared in the August 2012 issue, which helped Shake Smart open more locations.

Customized, healthy food options are all the rage and the desire for specific options fast has never been greater. This would normally be good news for a business – but as Gelfand and Reiman found out, the financial boost needed to help their expansion was more difficult to come by than they had planned.

“We had demands for a second location on Pendleton and were closing in on plans for our first San Francisco location, but needed capital to make it happen,” said Gelfand. “The SBA route was a nightmare of paperwork though.”

The Small Business Administration wanted Gelfand to take out a life insurance policy and have someone co-sign, which was asking too much. The company then tried to go with a more traditional bank loan, but Bank of America would not lend to them. “We hadn’t been in business long enough, and they were only willing to look at our debt for 2013, which was high only because we were opening new locations. But they wouldn’t’ look at our projected sales, which were expected to be high due to our growth spurt.”

Gelfand spoke with Wells Fargo, which recommended Dealstruck. Dealstruck in a direct lender with the mission to provide small business owners with unique, appropriate and affordable capital with integrity and transparency. The result for borrowers is an easier way to access affordable capital quickly and grow their businesses.

“Dealstruck looks at what I would consider the gray area, rather than just the black and white numbers, which led to us getting a loan from them.”