Everything is free on grand opening day at new Cal Poly shake shop

A new Shake Smart store opened Aug. 29, 2017, on Cal Poly’s campus outside the student Recreation Center.
A new Shake Smart store opened Aug. 29, 2017, on Cal Poly’s campus outside the student Recreation Center.

Classes don’t begin at Cal Poly until this week, but there’s already plenty of positive buzz around the recent opening of Shake Smart.

The grab-and-go style store — specializing in freshly blended protein shakes for the active, on-the-go consumer — opened its eighth location Aug. 29 in front of the student Recreation Center.

Shake Smart offers a variety of shakes using real fruit and vegetables, with no artificial sweeteners or preservatives, and each packs at least 30 grams of whey isolate protein.

Vegan, gluten-free and lactose-free options also are available.

“We’ve been really pleased with the sales so far and the reception we’ve gotten,” said president and co-founder Kevin Gelfand.

The idea for Shake Smart was born in 2010 when Gelfand was attending San Diego State University. An avid gym-goer, Gelfand wanted to help fill a void on the SDSU campus for affordable, healthy post-workout nutrition.

With a vision to make healthy eating more accessible, SDSU approved Gelfand’s pitch and the first location opened on campus six months later.

The Cal Poly store cost about $500,000 to build, Gelfand said, adding that it will employ 22 students working 15 to 20 hours a week. Three more stores are slated to open by the end of the year.

Bringing a Shake Smart to San Luis Obispo has been in the works for several years. Cal Poly Campus Dining and the University Union Advisory Board began discussing the possibility in 2013. With help from the Associated Students Inc., students were surveyed on whether they preferred a smoothie or protein shake option.

Four years later, Cal Poly students are getting what they asked for.

“I think the students are excited,” said campus dining spokesperson Ellen Curtis. “This is something they really wanted.”

The store officially opened last month, but Gelfand said a grand opening event will be held Sept. 21, when every item on the menu will be free all day.

Outside of protein shakes, menu items include all-natural peanut butter and banana sandwiches, organic acai protein bowls, oatmeal, egg white breakfast wraps, all-natural Greek yogurt and whole food bars.

Another cool aspect of Shake Smart: Customers place their own order on an iPad using a custom application that remembers their preferences each time they visit. The order is ready at pick-up window within a few minutes.

Shake Smart will be open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday; and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.