Fowler College of Business Alums Named to Forbes 30 Under 30 List

It was a long drive home eight years ago that prompted then-student Kevin Gelfand (’11, management) to toy with the idea of creating a business.

That idea is now a reality that has propelled Gelfand and fellow SDSU business student and fraternity brother, Martin Reiman (’12, marketing) to achieve the distinguished honor of being a part of the 2019 Forbes’ annual 30 Under 30 list in the category of Food & Drink.

The idea started when Gelfand learned that protein is best utilized by the body within 30 minutes of ending a physical work-out. He developed a tasty, low-calorie protein shake in his kitchen, however, the long drive from SDSU’s Aztec Recreation Center (the ARC) to his home often took more than a half an hour which lessened the shake’s effectiveness.

Realizing that others were likely in the same boat, Gelfand and Reiman embarked on a business plan that would offer other ARC members the opportunity to get their protein shakes almost immediately upon leaving the gym.

Using the expertise and intellectual resources of several members of SDSU’s Fowler College of Business’ faculty, the two set up their first Shake Smart stand next to the ARC in January 2011. It was the first time that a business run by students was allowed to operate on the SDSU campus.

Today, there are a total of 13 Shake Smart locations with four in San Diego County (including a second location at the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union) and eight more on college campuses across the country.

The company currently employs over 200 people working in the retail outlets and at the San Diego-based headquarters. “The entire company is run by an executive team of nine people all under the age of 30 with a strong women workforce,” Gelfand noted. “Right now, we are on target to have 20 stores open by 2020, but there is a good chance that could happen by the end of 2019!”

Gelfand and Reiman learned that expansion doesn’t come without a lot of hard work, research and resources. “We raised $450,000 to expand the business by focusing on product development and exploring new expansion possibilities through licensing options,” said Gelfand. “Four of our newest stores have been opened through licenses with the food service departments at the universities. The hardest part of expansion is learning to be patient with new opportunities, but you have to learn to be patient and flexible as you allocate your time into productive activities during the process.”

In addition to being flexible and patient, Gelfand would also advise budding SDSU entrepreneurs to set daily goals. “As an entrepreneur it is important to be able to self-motivate and create your own tasks,” he explained. “I have found that setting daily achievable goals is very effective in managing my time and helping me to complete those necessary tasks.”