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SOMA Spotlight: The Dancing Blender

By Rishi Shah
SOMA Spotlight Editor

The Dancing Blender is located on 121 S Orange Ave, South Orange, NJ 07079. The smoothie company has been a South Orange staple since 1996 when owner and founder, Manny Adelye, combined his lifestyle and passions to create the shop. I spoke to Manny earlier last week to get some insight on how this business came to be and where he sees the future of the brand.

The Adeleye family immigrated from Nigeria and found a home in England where Manny was born, later Manny moved to South Orange, New Jersey in 1978 where he raised his family. Manny studied theatre at Kean University and opened his business in 1996. He has a 32-year-old daughter and 28-year-old son who also help or have helped with the family business.

During the initial years, the shop was named Booeys Natural Foods and was renamed to The Dancing Blender Smoothie company around 7 years ago. This rebranding effort was to better attract customers and grow their brand. Manny claims that he created all the recipes found in the long list of juices, smoothies and food items on display. They even specialize in creating custom programs with various blends of juices and smoothies to meet the various health needs of their customer base.

Part of the menu at The Dancing Blender (Photo courtesy of Rishi Shah)

This whole effort was self-funded, Manny states that he did not want to rely on big banks or any other credit lines to fund his endeavor. This obviously paid off as he has been in business for over 20 years! Manny is now more than willing to investors to grow the brand, but under one condition: he says that an investor cannot just throw money at the business and walk away, they must have a passion for the product and service that is provided. He does not feel that it is right to take money from an investor who does not see the value in wholesome, organic products.

One of his biggest challenges was finding information. Manny states that there was a lack of resources for someone like him to get information. As an immigrant to the USA and a minority, there was no network of resources and people to go to. Manny, as an avid reader, researched and sought after the many requirements of opening a business.

Manny expressed that his driving force is the idea behind his product. To him, products sold to his customers must be consistent, use the best ingredients and feel good to eat. Every individual can find a product catered to their needs at the shop. The Dancing Blender Mission, found on the website, states “The Dancing Blender Smoothie Company provides a casual, social and comfortable atmosphere coupled with a distinctive menu of freshly-made and delicious Smoothies, Juices, Wraps, custom-made salads, and other healthy snack products while using the highest quality nutritional ingredients. We offer these services affordably, consistently and with the ultimate focus on service–service to our customers, service to our vendors and respect for the environment.” Manny makes his everyday decisions based on these values.

I asked Manny about doing business in South Orange, he expressed that “it’s a wonderful community, but difficult to do business here”. He expanded, stating that there is a negative stigma behind a small town and that many feel the need to look elsewhere for unique food experiences. Most of his customer base is from the surrounding communities who understand quality of his products and he has many regulars from local areas.

Some of the bottled beverages availible (Photo courtesy of Rishi Shah)

Recently, the company created bottled smoothies and health shots for customers on the go. These products were created specially to last on shelves and be convenient for customers. The ‘Bantigo’, ‘PowerTM,’and ‘Racheil’ were all products that started as things customers could order to be made in store and now are bottled and sold in many stores in the Essex County area. A local shop, Sonny’s Bagels carries these in their shop in South Orange. Manny stated that they have moved to an outside distributor to meet demand of these products. Although they are not made in store, he upholds the same product quality by placing strict measures on the organic produce being used in the outside facility.

Manny highly values the Seton Hall community as well. He partners with the Athletics Department to specially create pre- and post-game products that are based on the particular athlete’s request. He values this partnership and the athletes seem to love it too! Many outside schools that play at Seton Hall also order products for their athletes as well. Manny wants to expand his relationship with students and has agreed to extend the lunch special, pictured here, from 11am-4pm for students with a valid ID. Finally, Manny left off on the note that he highly values his employees. Without them, he says, there would be no Dancing Blender.


Contact Rishi at rishi.shah@student.shu.edu


(Features in the SOMA Spotlight section are not endorsements/reviews/criticisms of any business)

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