Have you tried the acai? University of Utah finance students Nate Berger and Seth Neeleman opened Simply Acai in August 2019. During fall 2019 and beyond, you can find them in the mobile kitchen in the Miller Cafe at Lassonde Studios.
The inspiration started for Neeleman when he was living in Brazil. “I ate acai three to four times a week and loved it,” he said. When he came back to the US, he wanted to see how he could bring this super fruit here. “After living as a first-year resident at the Lassonde Studios, and after talking to individuals at the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, Simply Acai was shortly created,” he said.
Simply Acai is focused on premium organic acai imported directly from Brazil. “Acai is the only fruit in the world with no sugar in it,” Neeleman said. Berger added, “Our acai is simply acai; there are no add-ins, sugar, or juice.”
In addition, the blended acai is topped with fresh fruit, granola, and honey. The acai bowls are sold directly to students at the University of Utah.
Owners Berger and Neeleman met at the University of Utah. The two had similar ambitions and entrepreneurial backgrounds. “It was a natural thing we fell into,” Berger said.
Simply Acai is student-owned and student-driven. “We are driven to meet the demands of students to create a better experience on campus,” Berger said. Neeleman added, “Our employees have helped our business get off the ground. We are all equals in the company, and we value our employees’ input. Our employees are heavily involved in everything we do.”
Simply Acai strives to produce the best quality of service to their customers. They understand that customers might want an expanded menu with items such as power toasts or steel-cut oatmeal. They are currently in the experimental phase but hope to offer these products soon.
Additionally, the company sells bracelets made by single mothers that live in the Amazon rainforest. These bracelets are made from the seed of the acai berry. Simply Acai sells these bracelets to customers to provide help to single mothers.
Neeleman wants his customers to know, “The Acai berry is helping prevent deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. Instead of people going in and logging in the Amazon Rain Forest, acai is a hot commodity that is worth a lot more. Essentially, acai is protecting that particular ecosystem.”
The company has plans in the pipeline to potentially expand into the catering and events industry.
Follow Simply Acai on Instagram @simplyacaislc.