GREENBURGH, N.Y. – Greenburgh teen entrepreneur Kevin Ge had an idea for a business, and, boy, was it a juicy one.
The Edgemont High School student was visiting a winery with his parents three years ago when he became bored and sneaked away from the tour group.
The then-14-year-old, found himself wandering among the vines, idly plucking grapes and eating them.
Their juice was so fresh and full that Ge wondered why adults were the only ones that got to enjoy the taste.
From that brief encounter, the seed of a new business – Raw Juice – was planted.
Town Supervisor Paul Feiner, who highlighted Ge’s accomplishments in a recent blogpost, said samples of the grape drink will be given out at tonight's (Wednesday, March 22) Town Board meeting.
The meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall and Ge will be on hand for a meet-and-greet, Feiner said.
Ge, in a 2016 TED talk, said that his only experience in business at that time was to “smelt pennies, build toy cars, and breed and sell parakeets.”
But after doing some research on the Internet, he managed to formulate and hand bottle his new drink.
The first “run” was sold to family and friends; only one retail outlet, a gas station, took him on.
After a lot of trial and error, run-ins with skeptics, and with no sales experience, Ge eventually built the business up to the point where he was signing up a store a week.
His “non-adultered grape juice bursting with micronutrients” won a Silver award at the 2016 Florida State International Wine and Grape Juice Competition.
It is cold-pressed and flash pasteurized, Ge said, so that “the aromas and subtle flavors of the juice stay intact.”
Raw Juice is now sold in 18 retail shops and online, Ge said.
With apologies to fellow Westchesterite, President Donald J. Trump, Ge company's motto?: "Make America Grape Again."
The newly minted Eagle Scout went on to serve as co-president of his high school’s Economics Club. He mentors peers in investing and has helped raise funds for the World Food Programme Club, assisting the poor with 4,000 meals, according to Feiner.
If founding a business at 14 isn’t enough, Ge was recently selected by Empire State Development, the Small Business Administration, and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce to be a member of a Food and Beverage Manufacturing delegation to Israel. He was the youngest person to go on a state-sponsored trade mission.
The goal of the mission was to increase exports of products made in New York and generally improve trade relations between New York state and Israel, Feiner said.
What's next for Ge? "I'm definitely going to stay on track with my juice business, but I'm always open to new opportunities," he said.
Ge isn’t the only Greenburg resident to make a splash in the business world; the town was once the home of Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook.
“We have lots of talented future leaders living in our community and Kevin (Ge) is one," Feiner said.