Photos by L.G. Patterson
After working as a stay-at-home mom for 20 years, Brenda Andrus decided to take on a new adventure with her husband and six children in opening Sipz Sodas on Columbia’s south side. “Our kids have been involved from the very beginning,” she says. “It’s nice having something to do with the family.”
After seeing some other successful soda shops when living out west, Andrus knew it was time for Columbia to enjoy a similar shop. “We wanted to do something unique that people would enjoy.” On May 19, Andrus and her family finally got to open the doors to their new adventure with Sipz Sodas opening at 124 E. Nifong Blvd., suite J. The shop offers custom sodas, energy drinks, cookies, pretzels and more. “We did a lot of the construction ourselves; the kids came to some of the meetings for our branding,”she says. “While it has been hard, it’s been fun to work together.”
Since the grand opening, Andrus says the community has been incredibly welcoming. “We have had a great response from customers,” she says. “Now we are just trying to get the word out more.” Not only is the idea fresh to Columbia, but Andrus and her family created the menu with the help of friends, family and neighbors. “We had three or four different taste tests,” she says. “We invited our neighbors, our friends and said, ‘Come try out some drinks, what do you like, what should we add?’ And then we had them help us come up with the names.
The Court Court, named after Andrus’s 17-year-old daughter, is one of the most popular specialty drinks, consisting of Dr.Pepper, coconut, vanilla and coconut cream. Andrus says the Shark Tank is another fan favorite. While it is on the kids menu (known at Sipz as the “kidz favoritez menu” to keep on theme), everyone can enjoy it. It has Sprite, lemonade and blue raspberry, topped with a gummy shark. “I definitely like the kid favorite ones,” Andrus says. “They are not just for kids.”
If you are not a fan of soda, Sipz also offers sparkling water options, different kinds of energy drinks and a small selection of salty snacks to balance the sweet tastes.
While the menu constantly changes, Andrus says customers can basically create any drink with various flavors and topping options. “Some people come in and just want to try something different, so they randomly pick different flavors to see if something tastes better,” she says. And if you think you’ve got the combination of a lifetime, Andrus says she is always open to new ideas to add to the menu. “There is one we are going to add to the menu; someone came in and put toasted marshmallow in Dr. Pepper with a few other things, so we will try it,” she says.
Even though some customers are always looking to be creative, Andrus says others have already found their favorite and come in daily for it. “We are seeing new people, but we definitely have our regulars,” she says.
Supporting local businesses is something Andrus says has become even more important to her since starting her own shop. “I am realizing what it takes to run a business, all the little things,” she says. “It’s so important to support local.
Andrus says she hopes more people will head over to the new aesthetically pleasing shop, perfect for any Instagram shoot, for a drink or a snack. Or, if you need a quick fix, pull in the drive-thru to get your soda for the day.
Along with the soda options, Andrus says she hopes to add protein drinks to the menu later on. “We will probably work with our neighbors here at the strip to figure out what protein drinks to add,” she says, since there are so many workout studios nearby. “But that is definitely in the works for the future.” The goal is also to start doing events, catering and hosting birthday parties. “I have many ideas, but actually making them happen is slow and steady,” Andrus says. While Sipz opened at 10 a.m. throughout the summer, Andrus says Sipz will extend its hours to 8 a.m.-8 p.m. during the school year. For more information on Sipz or to apply for a job, find the business on Facebook or Instagram.