“It’s pretty cool to be able to ride my bike to work,” smiled Chris Kramolis. “When your commute starts by crossing Western Lake, it immediately puts you in a happy and grateful frame of mind.”
In June, Chris and his wife Shannon opened the very first Beach Happy® Cafe, in partnership with The 30A® Company. The new casual dining and retail concept is located at the main intersection in WaterColor, Florida, directly on the south side of Scenic Highway 30A. Almost every local and visitor routinely passes through this 4-way stop, and thousands of people walk by the cafe on their way to, and from, the beach every day.
“You can hear the waves, the seagulls, the wind blowing through the palm trees, the bells of passing bicycles,” said Shannon.
“We really couldn’t have asked for a better place to create the first Beach Happy Cafe experience.”
The experience is everything because the Kramolis’ vision doesn’t end by the sea. It starts there. Like a message in a bottle, they hope to one day bring a little beach happiness to cities, towns, and communities all across the U.S.
“We really want to capture the authentic 30A experience,” said Chris, who once developed a network of thirty Tropical Smoothie Cafes in Arkansas. “It’s not only about serving exceptional food and coffee, it’s also about creating a relaxed, coastal vibe. We want to fine-tune all of those things here at the source before we test the waters in other markets.”
To help pull off such a lofty vision, Chris recruited the help of his longtime friend and business partner, Eric Jenrich, another Walton County local. In the late 1990s, Jenrich founded the Tropical Smoothie Cafe empire, which now boasts over 900 locations nationwide.
“We’re both locals and we live and breathe the 30A lifestyle,” said Chris, who called WaterColor home for years and now resides in Grayton Beach, just a short e-bike ride away. “Our mission is to make people happy, and it all starts right here on Scenic 30A.”
Beach Happy Cafe serves healthy wraps and sandwiches, fresh pastries by Blue Mountain Bakery, plant-based options by NaturBaker, locally roasted 30A Coffee by Amavida, 30A Craft Beer by Grayton Beer, premium 30A Wine curated from Oregon by industry legend Chan Cox of Wine World, and a new line of 30A Gelato, handcrafted by G.S. Gelato in Fort Walton.
“We’ve really pulled together a Who’s Who of authentic Gulf Coast originals to bring the 30A experience to life,” said Shannon, who said that music will also play an important role in literally setting the tone for Beach Happy Cafe. “I don’t want to give it away, but if you love the beach and you also love music, I think you’ll really appreciate what we’ve come up with.”
So while this may be 30A’s very first Beach Happy Cafe, if all goes as planned, it might not be long before you see one in your neighborhood. “It’s a huge responsibility to one day bring the beach to people who can’t always be here like we are, so it’s really important to us that we get it right,” said Shannon. “But every journey starts with a single step. Our first step just happens to be in the sand.”
BEACH HAPPY 🏝️ 😎 visits WaterColor, Florida.
Presented by: Grady-White Boats
MarineMax Panama City Beach | MarineMax Fort Walton Beach
MarineMax Pensacola | Land Rover Gulf Coast | southwaltonfl.com
Posted by 30A on Friday, 2 October 2020