Undergraduate student Sadia Alao, class of 2020, Marketing and Theater major, writes about Trifecto Bar, opened on July 7th, 2016 by Smith Alum, in Clarksville, Maryland
Imagine this: A coffee and juice shop that turns into a bar at night. It’s genius, and that’s exactly what Trifecto Bar is. It’s the newest business endeavor for venture partners, Tiara Castillo, Leigha Steele, and Class of 2014 Smith School of Business alumni, Elias Castillo. The idea of a cafe occurred to Elias and Leigha one day when the two were thinking of an innovative service to design for class. But how were they going to compete with Starbucks and the hundreds of other coffee shops in the DMV area? They realized that the market was “too saturated at the time,” and that they would have to go back to the drawing board.
When Elias attended the Smith in the City: New York trip in 2013 and visited Pressed Juicery, he noticed there was little to no market for juiceries in D.C. So Elias, Tiara, and Leigha started the District Juicery brand in 2014, producing juices and granola. They hustled between making the products themselves, emailing grocery stores to sell their products, buying wholesale packaging out of pocket, and marketing through word-of-mouth and social media. There were “no angel investors or large amounts of money to get [them] started.”
“It was a lot of sacrifice,” noted Leigha. “It’s so easy to be discouraged, but you have to push through that, get the support you need, and keep going.”
But upon understanding that cold pressed, raw juice is seasonal to summer and spring and isn’t shelf stable, the plan of a triple bar materialized. Coffee in the morning, juice midday, and alcoholic beverages at night, along with a confection of smoothie bowls, grilled cheeses, and granola. And with that, a storefront also emerged: Trifecto Bar. A bar focused on sustainability and its environmental impact on the world, Trifecto also uses compostable straws and buys from local farmers and vendors.
Elias, Tiara, and Leigha truly do seem to be the perfect trifecta.