Coto de Caza entrepreneur Dan McCormick loves his customers as much as he loves his franchise Bowl of Heaven’s acai bowls.
The ah-sigh-EE berry itself is a remarkable super fruit that provides antioxidants to slow aging processes, omega fatty acids that prevent heart disease, phytosterols that support a healthy immune system, and dietary fibers to support a healthy digestive system. It is also a source of calcium, protein and vitamins A, E and B6.
To the uninformed, acai bowls could mistakenly be compared to a bowl of frozen yogurt. But unlike frozen yogurt, which contains milk and corn syrup, Bowl of Heaven’s dairy-free acai bowls contain several super fruits, organic hemp seed granola and plant-based protein powder to make this addiction a healthy and balanced choice.
“We’re here to give you an option to choose something that’s healthy, delicious, exotic, different, fun, and I think the world wants that right now,” says McCormick.
McCormick found acai bowls by accident. Upon visiting his daughters at college in Hawaii a few years ago, he noticed people walking up from the beach to a stand selling acai bowls. Though skeptical at first, he was persuaded to try a bowl. The result was a burst of both delicious flavor and ideas for bringing the bowl home to Orange County to start a business that would revolutionize the way health-conscious Southern Californians ate.
In the face of cold and rainy months looming not too far off in the distance, Bowl of Heaven opened in October 2010 in Rancho Santa Margarita with the help of McCormick’s son-in-law, Brandon Beazer, and other relatives. The store sold these dairy-free bowls to 39 customers on its first day. Now with two other locations in Huntington Beach and La Verne, and two out-of-state in Idaho and Nevada, Bowl of Heaven serves thousands of customers a month.
Bowl of Heaven also recently introduced fresh-squeezed juices for a quick burst of antioxidant-rich supplements. It also sells MAQ7 juice, which is at the base of every acai bowl, and can be purchased by the bottle to enjoy from the comfort of home. It is made up of seven types of super fruits (acai, maqui berries, goji berries, Alaskan blueberries, gac, cili, and Siberian pineapple) that all have different antioxidants and unique properties.
But for McCormick and Beazer, making a strong connection with the community is just as important — if not more so — than the profits.
“I love people so much, and I really enjoy being here so much that I focused more on the culture of the people, making sure they were happy, than I focused on any of the economics of the business... until I was two years into it,” McCormick says. “We’re more than just here to make money — we’re here to make you healthy.”
McCormick finds another way to give back to the community by taking advantage of opportunities to speak to local high schools about the benefits of maintaining a healthy diet, exercise and lifestyle.
“[If] teachers get all their kids to eat Bowl of Heaven on the way to school, versus eating Fruit Loops or something full of sugar, they would be better in the classroom,” he says.
And those efforts have not been lost. McCormick spoke of one high school student who put Bowl of Heaven to the test by eating a bowl every day for a month. The results were 12 pounds shed and a job opportunity for the student who was such a positive influence in the eyes of Bowl of Heaven’s customers.
McCormick does have one other goal in mind — to find franchisees that are interested in becoming a part of his team. It may have started in Southern California, but McCormick says he wants to open as many stores as the world will allow.
“We’re anxious to meet more people who want to partner with us and expand our brand and make every community a little bit better, and certainly for the entrepreneur, a little more profitable,” he says.