Front Page BanaSun Fruit Bar
After taking the leap of a lifetime, a local fitness guru is making the world a healthier place one smoothie at a time. Learn more about this mobile smoothie bar and the inspiration that made this dream a reality.
An adventurer at heart, Michael Kroeger always knew he would be an entrepreneur at some point in his life – he just didn’t think he’d leave behind his career to do it.
Once a partner at a wealth management firm, Kroeger was making big changes in his life and trying to get healthier.
“I tried various diets, but it wasn’t until stumbling on fruit and smoothies when things took off for me,” he explains. “I had more energy than I knew what to do with.”
That’s when he started making smoothies all the time, eventually making them for friends.
“I was blown away with the fact that a drink could taste so good using on simple, real ingredients,” he says. “After a while, I felt like I needed to write down recipes, and I did.”
Then, in June 2013, Kroeger ventured down to South Carolina for vacation. He says the 10 hour drive felt like an hour as he began to feel inspired to take his life in a different direction.
With everything changing, including himself, he wasn’t quite sure what to make of it all but knew that it was time for a new adventure. “Toward the end of 2013, I booked a trip to visit Australia and New Zealand,” he explains. “It was a three-week vacation and one of the first times I had been away from my work life for some significant time.”
While Down Under, Kroeger says he went bungee jumping, scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, and canyoning in New Zealand. It was an experience, he says, that gave him perspective.
“When I returned home I knew I needed to go with my heart,” he says. It was then that he decided to leave his job in finance, a team that had become his second family and clients that had become close friends, and pursue what his heart was really after – smoothies.
Kroeger made the leap into entrepreneurship at the end of 2014, ready to pursue his dream that would come to fruition in June 2016 in the form of BanaSun Fruit Bar. He credits close friends who helped him bring his concept to life, including Daniel Noguera, Brandon Compton, and Steve Flaherty, to name a few.
“BanaSun Fruit Bar is a local food startup in Cincinnati,” explains Kroeger. “We serve fresh, organic smoothies and organic frozen lemonades. All of our drinks are made from fresh ingredients that are all-natural.”
Kroeger says that while the drinks are healthy, the main focus is taste. With a variety of fresh ingredients, all smoothies currently have a banana base. BanaSun offers fruit smoothies as well as protein smoothies.
A popular smoothie is the protein-based Bana Greens smoothie. Kroeger says it’s made up of kale, peanut butter, and banana. “It gets some of the weirdest looks,” he says. “But produces some of the best smiles after the first sip.”
BanaSun is completely mobile right now. The bar is about 6 feet long and the bike weighs between 500-600 pounds. “We do bike it on the open roads, but try to stick to the flat areas of Cincinnati as much as possible. Hills are not our friends,” laughs Kroeger.
The frozen lemonades have also been a big hit with customers. “I always encourage people to try the lemonades with an extra fruit,” says Kroeger. “Our strawberry frozen lemonade seems to be the most popular of them.”
When asked what makes BanaSun unique, other than that it is a mobile business, Kroeger says it’s the company’s focus on fun. “We mix fun into everything we do,” he says. “Our healthy drinks are about tasting good and giving people something to come back to.”
You can also find fitness challenges each day with BanaSun, and have an opportunity to win a free smoothie.
“The daily challenges range from doing push-ups to handstands,” he says. “We have even offered up sweet dance moves as one of the challenges. We really just want to have an incredible time with people and serve up some tasty drinks in the process. Life’s too short not to have a blast.”
You can find BanaSun at various places around the city. Kroeger says they frequent downtown, Fountain Square, OTR, Findlay Market, and other venues. He adds that they post their schedule on a weekly basis so the bike’s followers can easily find them. “We cater for businesses and other private events throughout the area as well,” he adds.
Kroeger is looking to the future of BanaSun. He says he plans to expand on the smoothie line up including smoothies that do not use a banana base and includes superfoods. He also plans to add some food products. “BanaSun is something that will continue to evolve,” he says.
“It’s been a fun adventure so far, and I’m excited to see where it goes,” he says.