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Teen Entrepreneur Starts Distribution of Juice Drink

HERMITAGE, Pa. – Entrepreneur and Hickory High School student Cynthia Torrence has launched NIU FlaMingo, a low-sugar juice drink. Housed at the eCenter@LindenPointe incubator in Hermitage, Pa., the drink began distribution Monday. 

Torrence has been working on the drink since she was 11. Her creation has allowed her to have new opportunities to travel and gain business experience.

“It’s [also] added a little bit of stress because [I’m in] school and sometimes the work can overlap on each other,” she said. “I come home from a long day at school and then maybe I have to go to a meeting or drive to Pittsburgh. I’m jet lagged all the time.” 

FlaMingo is bottled by New Jersey-based MetaBrand Corp., which began production of the drink May 15. The first shipment, totaling 3,600 bottles, arrived in Hermitage Friday.

“We are thrilled to help Cynthia out with her beverage concept,” said MetaCorp President Craig Fortin in a statement. “It was a complex project to get the flavor right since we had to replicate all of the off-the-shelf products she used to create her first version of FlaMingo. Cynthia is the youngest entrepreneur we have worked with and I know the entire team at MetaBrand is grateful to be a part of her new journey.” 

The 15-year-old entrepreneur learned to manage time in her daily schedule. She said apart from her daily tasks with school and business, she still manages to spend time with her family and friends.

“I started it when I was seven,” she said. “At first it was just a little thing. Our church was having a fundraiser for purchasing for a new building [and I had a lemonade stand there, but it was different. It was not high in sugar. After that, it just became this huge thing.”

The young entrepreneur worked with former eCenter executive director Ketaki Desai to develop the product and start developing branding  for FlaMingo.

“This girl has all the vision and spirit needed to be a leader, but she also has the perseverance and diligence to follow through on her ideas,” Desai said in a statement. “I am so proud of Cynthia and hope that everyone who reads this story finds a way to connect with this young girl and help take her company to the next stage.”

Torrence has her sights set high, eyeing eventual global distribution.

“I really want to go into maybe being the global ambassador or something like that because I love giving places the world,” she said. 

April Torrence, Cynthia’s mother, said to see her daughter endure through the entire process of the creation of this product makes her excited, proud and at a loss for words. 

“I thank God for the opportunity for her to make [differences in other people’s lives.] We’re looking forward to [the launch] of her other flavors in the future,” she said. 

Torrence and her husband have financed the endeavor. NIU is a division of the Torrence family business, Talls LLC. She said they have also had some community and family members who helped along the way.

“Ninety-eight percent of this funding has been through my husband and I,” she said. “[And] consumer credit and whatever else we had to do.”

For more information about the low sugar drink, contact April Torrence at 724 685 9878 or visit NIUbyTalls.com.

Copyright 2019 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.