Bored Kids Inspire a Boba and Ice Cream Shop

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By Lily Allen-Dueñas, Hola Iowa

When your kids won’t stop complaining that there’s nowhere to hang out in your town, what do you do? If you’re Ivette Drahos, you open a boba and ice cream shop to give them a place to go.

Ivette and her husband Mark opened The Lazy Goose Boba Tea and Ice Cream in Perry, Iowa in March 2022. Drahos was born in Nicaragua and moved to Perry in 2000, where she graduated from Perry High School. While she and Mark spent a few years living in Waterloo and Wisconsin, upon returning to Perry, they noticed a distinct lack of places for families and kids to gather – a sentiment not limited to their own family. “When we moved back, we realized there wasn’t too much going on in Perry,” Drahos observes, “and we kept thinking we should open something.”

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Once Drahos and her family tried boba for the first time during a trip to Des Moines, they were hooked. When traveling for sporting events with her kids, Drahos would always do a quick Google search to see where she could get her boba fix. She and her husband had brainstormed about opening a business, but they never landed on the right idea until boba. The Lazy Goose is not just a business venture; it’s a reflection of Drahos’ dedication to creating a welcoming space for her community. Named after her son Gustavo, who is lovingly nicknamed Goose, her business embodies a familial warmth that extends to every customer who walks through its doors. Kids come after school to play games and listen to music and fathers bring their daughters there for ice cream dates. “I’m helping people make memories,” says Drahos.

Opening a brick-and-mortar business in a small town comes with its challenges, and Ivette didn’t shy away from sharing her experiences. From navigating regulations to managing time effectively, the initial stages were a learning curve. “The first year was rough. I was so bad at managing my time, and nobody showed me how to do this,” laments Drahos. However, with determination and a supportive network, including her husband and fellow business owners in Perry, she found her groove. “It’s so chill; I could be there all day and not know.” 

Drahos stresses the importance of not being obsessed with the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. “Some days you’ll be busy and make a lot of sales, and the next day you won’t have a single sale,” she points out, “You have to know that other businesses are in the same boat.” She would often chat with other business owners in Perry, and they’d vent, problem-solve, and cheer each other on. Having other business owners to not only commiserate with but also celebrate with is vital to navigating the roller coaster of entrepreneurship.

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Fluent in English and Spanish, Drahos’ bilingualism not only bridges cultural gaps but creates a welcoming environment for all. Her menu reflects a blend of flavors, including horchata-infused boba tea and mangonadas with a flavorful twist, appealing to her Latino clients. All her employees are also bilingual, which she highlights as very important to the Perry community. “A lot of people come in and they can’t speak English. It’s a small town, they know me, and they feel welcome because they know someone will be able to understand them.” For a lot of people who come into the Lazy Goose, it’s their first time trying boba, and they feel awkward and completely unsure of what to order. That’s when Drahos or her employees jump in, whether in English or Spanish, to explain what boba is and to offer samples that helps soothe new clients’ nerves and ensures that “everyone feels welcome here.”

Being a Latina business owner in Iowa holds a special significance for Drahos. She acknowledges the lack of Hispanic representation among business owners in her community but sees a positive shift happening. “When I was little, I didn’t see many Hispanic business owners. It’s slowly increasing,” she reflects. Drahos hopes to be a source of inspiration for other Latinas who dream of being business owners or maybe didn’t even realize it was possible. It just takes a spark—and she is that spark.

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Her advice for fellow Latina entrepreneurs is rooted in her own experience. “If you are Hispanic and you decide to venture into opening a business and you’re going to give it your all, you’re going to succeed because it’s already in you,” she states matter of factly. And she means it. Drahos firmly believes that every Latina who wants to become a business owner can become one. Her words carry a message of resilience and determination, emphasizing the innate potential within every aspiring Latina entrepreneur. “You are going to add your own twist so you will stand out from the next person,” she says. By leveraging bilingualism, cultural heritage, and unique perspectives, Latina entrepreneurs are distinct in the market and make a lasting impact on their communities. As for Drahos, she continues to dream big. The shop is just the beginning as she is considering adding a “mobile boba” concept bringing boba-on-the-go! 

JEFAS Magazine is a collaboration of writers, photographers, social media managers, editors, translators, and designers from across Illinois, Iowa and the Midwest – all of whom are Latinx. It is the first magazine created by the Latinx community, for the Latinx community that focuses on how they are boosting the economy, giving back, and filling the gap between what is needed and what is available in the state. 

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To see the locations where you can find the magazine visit @JEFASMagazine on Instagram and TikTok

You can find the digital magazine here:

https://holaamericanews.com/jefas-latinas-in-business-magazine-may-2024/

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