Lansing woman becomes a business owner after months of living in her car

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The year 2020 made many of us feel like the rug was taken from under us, And for one young, female, Black entrepreneur, the year brought many speedbumps.

“I had fallen on hard times and had to sleep in my car in the cold of winter,” said Tammara McCollum, owner of Smoothie Queen.

Shortly before this, McCollum had begun making smoothies out of her kitchen and shared that business journey online with other young entrepreneurs.

“A lot of people told me they looked up to me. And that they wanted to do what I did, but I didn’t want them to think it was all sunshine and rainbows, because there are hard times,” said McCollum.

But with no kitchen to make smoothies, her new business was at a halt. Promising to stay true to those watching, she made a TikTok video explaining her story. A video that went viral, getting over 100-thousand views.

“I decided to come out and share it because I thought it would be inspirational to others. And basically, so people could take note, starting a business is hard, but you must be prepared,” said the owner.

And the community did not waste any time lending her a helping hand, they offered her their kitchens to make smoothies, and earn her income.

“I would drive around Lansing from morning to night selling smoothies out of my trunk. People wanted to support me, they saw I was trying to be a young Black entrepreneur, female entrepreneur,” said the Smoothie Shop owner.

With these sales, she obtained an official business license-for Smoothie Queen, which allowed her to rent an industrial kitchen in Lansing by the hour. She now fulfills orders through online services and was finally able to get a place of her own, to call home.

“I’m just so happy, because literally this time last year I was in my car, not knowing what I was going to do, thinking I’m a failure. So, do not give up, everyone has their season, stay focused on you,” said McCollum as she blended her orders.

As for now, online orders are keeping her busy, but she plans to soon open a storefront, in the city that helped her off her feet.  

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