"We shared the same spoon, watching Saturday cartoons…"
By Queen Rose
Published: Feb. 10th, 2021
I was able to spend a frosty, Saturday morning inside the warm and cozy confines of Yum Yum Cereal Bar, picking the brain of Mrs. Shantaria “Coo" Smith. Mrs. Smith’s cereal bar is one of five in the nation and the first in Michigan. As an 80's baby, I couldn’t wait to sit down with her because just the idea of a cereal bar is dope to me. To be able to dine in one, where the owner knows my name (even the nicknames) is beyond dope. When I caught up with Coo, it was at the end of her Grand Re-opening week. She had to comply with the State of Michigan’s Covid-19 mandates on shutting down restaurants.
Who or what was your inspiration behind opening Yum Yum Cereal Bar?
My husband. He loves cereal. He was always mixing mine in with his, just eating it a lot. My girls love cereal too. So I got to thinking and I did research. I saw a cereal bar in Germany and I knew I could do it. Plus, we didn’t have anything around here like it.
Why was becoming an entrepreneur in the community important to you?
I come from Saginaw. I was raised here, so it’s only right that I give back. This cereal bar was something new that hadn’t been done and it’s extremely kid friendly. I tailored it towards the children. We have the games here and we also have the cubicles and free wifi for homework. Things I’ve done in the past like the glow-stick parties and the transportation service, I do for the kids. I do security, so parents can make it home safely to their kids. We have to pour into the kids because they are up next. We have to give them something to work with.
What do you wish your legacy to be?
I want to be remembered as someone who always tried. No matter what the outlook may be to others, my faith is unwavering. I know that when I get the desire to do something, to go into a business venture, it’s a purpose behind it. I don’t let a “No", stop me. I find a way around it. I don’t think in terms of failures. It’s lessons and I go back and see what can be done differently and apply it. I want to be known as someone who gives of herself unselfishly. I love everybody with the heart of the Lord. Even when my first location was met with racism, I didn’t fire back with hate. I used that as fuel to go harder and make them eat those words. I want everyone to win and if I can help them get there, that’s even better.
What advice would you give any up and coming entrepreneurs?
Stand in your faith and your purpose. Know who you are and whose you are. As long as you know why you’re doing it, it doesn’t matter what people say negatively. There will always be someone, somewhere, saying something. Let your actions and then your successes, speak for you.
What are your plans, for the future of "Yum Yum Cereal Bar"?
Expansion! I want a few locations. I’ll get there.
"Yum Yum Cereal Bar" is located inside the Riverview Plaza, next to H&R Block at 244 West Genesee. Hours of operation are T-F 9am-5pm and Saturday 9am-1pm. Closed Sunday and Monday, unless have reservations.
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Issue online 2020