Tropical Smoothie Cafe gives over 1,000 free smoothies

Parked right outside of the school since 6 a.m. two days before the last day of school, the Tropical Smoothie Cafe truck and a few of their staff members made 400 smoothies in only 45 minutes for the senior class. But their goal for the day was far from complete. They would have to make 1,600 more to reach the 2,000 needed for everyone in the school.

Owner of Harrisonburg’s Tropical Smoothie Cafe, Travis Loan, had given a Facebook challenge to the HHS community, “Share Sunshine, Get Sunshine Challenge.” The challenge consisted of reaching a total of 10,000 shares of the post. Everyone would get a free 12 oz Sunshine smoothie made fresh from mango, banana, orange, pineapple and orange juice if the challenge was met. The challenge was posted on the first day of May and the deadline for it was the last day of May. Given a whole month to reach the high number of shares, Loan believed that the HHS students, staff and faculty had the chance of reaching 10,000.

“I took the amount of students and staff from here and I thought, ‘Okay, here’s what it’s going to take if each one shares it a few times, you can obviously do it.’ We’ve had people share it a ton of times there and we had a lot of people just share it a few times,” Loan said.

While his inspiration for the challenge came from seeing another Facebook post of doing the “Share Sunshine, Get Sunshine Challenge” in Atlanta, Georgia, Loan knew he wanted to try it in his community. His decision of what school to give the challenge to went all the way back to his roots.

“I graduated from Harrisonburg High School in 1998, class of ‘98. We’re getting ready to have our 20 year reunion here, so I’ve done some coaching here at the high school and middle school and been part of the community for a long time,” Loan said.

The number of shares didn’t start rising until the night before May 31 when students realized they had less than 24 hours to reach 10,000 shares. While the community did have a weak start to this with a low number of shares, it was the strong end game that brought everyone together to earn a free smoothie right before summer break.

“I thought it was attainable, but I thought it would be collectively done by the whole school. I’ll be honest, when I saw on [Wednesday]  it was 8,000 [shares], I didn’t know if they could do it, but a big search happened, and it jumped over and I was very excited,” Loan said.