"I think Tinnell's has picked a fantastic location," said Sharisse Brookins, creator of the Frizzante brand. "It couldn't be any better, right in the middle of the produce, right when you walk in the door."
Brookins was trying to create healthier drinks for her own children when she started experimenting with fruit juices a few years ago. Today, she has a popular local product and big plans to reach customers around the world .
The beverages are 100 percent sparkling juice - all natural, not from concentrate - and made from fresh-pressed apples. They come in three flavors - happy apple, cheery cherry and peaceful peach.
Tinnell's manager Annalisa Dickson says the drinks are popular with her customers. "It's local," she told us. "So many people now just want to buy local and support local businesses."
The story was the same at R.T. Smith's Fine Delicatessen in downtown Roanoke, which has carried the local brand for six to eight months. "We're trying to go all local, as much local as we can basically," said Craig Smith, one of the delicatessen's owners. "And it's a great product."
Frizzante soft drinks are available at a dozen locations here in western Virginia and a few outside the area. Within a year, Brookins plans to expand distribution into the Midwest and up and down the East Coast.
"My background is in banking," Brookins told us, "so as you can imagine I had a very steep learning curve, but the great thing about it is, I've always found willing people that were willing to work with me and help me along the way in which step I needed to take next."
The next steps will include wider distribution, more flavors and additional products. Next year, Brookins said she will be working with Virginia Tech to develop a new all-natural beverage for active teenagers and college students.