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9-year-old entrepreneur gets grocery store deal in Manhattan

Published: Aug. 6, 2021 at 2:48 PM CDT
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MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) - A 9-year-old from Manhattan is squeezing his way into his dream job.

Tre Glasper is a young entrepreneur who comes from a family with a strong background in business.

“I’ve been around business my entire life and I wasn’t scared because they own their own business,” he said.

This summer Tre was helping out his great uncle, owner of Smokin’ H’s, with his stand at the Manhattan Farmer’s Market and inspiration struck.

Tre said, “I saw that there were no drink vendors at the Farmer’s Market and I asked my mom if I could make a lemonade stand.”

His parents, Jermain and Sheila Glasper, gave Tre their full support.

“He went on his mom’s laptop and designed his logo which is Tre’s Squeeze and we were like wow, you’re pretty into this,” said Jermain. “So, we started looking at shelves and looking at other product, testing it out at home first throughout the summer, and then once he got his ingredients together we were ready to try to sell.”

For the last three months Tre has set up at the Farmer’s Market, freshly squeezing his lemonade for customers.

“We don’t put artificial flavor in our lemonade, we just put actual fruits in our lemonade,” Tre continued saying, “So, like our regular has lemons in it, our strawberry has strawberries in it, and then our watermelon has watermelon in it and we use raw cane sugar.”

The need he aimed to meet paid off and his product quickly became a hit.

“At the beginning of the summer, I never thought I would be owning a business and this business means a lot to me,” Tre added, “The community is very caring, nice and I appreciate all of the support.”

“We’re really thankful for the support,” Jermain continued saying, “It’s teaching him that when you put your dreams out there you can do anything and it inspires people as a whole.”

Tre’s Squeeze also gained traction on social media and caught the eye of management at Manhattan’s Hy-Vee grocery store.

The store’s Catering Manager, Margot Hutchison said, “We saw a Facebook post about him being interested in hopefully getting in stores in the future and we kind of swooped on that and brought him in.”

After just one taste test, Hy-Vee struck a deal, putting Tre’s business in a whole new playing field.

“Currently he squeezes fresh at the Farmer’s Market, so now we are trying to help him have a shelf-stable product and work with our resources and their resources for labeling,” said Hutchison.

“We’re very grateful and thankful to show him what it looks like when it comes to distribution of a product,” Tre’s father added. “Being in stores, it’s a learning process for us all and we are willing to grow and learn from the staff at Hy-Vee.”

While the Glasper’s and their new business partner recognize Tre’s success and look toward the future, they also want him to enjoy just being a kid.

“I mean who wouldn’t want to partner with a 9-year-old? You know we are trying to help him become a businessman, but also help maintain him being 9-years-old,” said Hutchison.

As Tre lives by his businesses motto, “Squeeze Into Your Dreams,” he recognizes his success would not be possible without the community’s support.

He said, “I wouldn’t be able to be in Hy-Vee if the community didn’t support me, so it means a lot to me.”

”To be nine years old and standing out on his dreams inspiring adults and children, it’s just amazing,” Jermain continued saying, “I’m a very proud father and I learn every day from him as well.”

Hy-Vee will be holding pop-up events at the Manhattan store over the next few months until they get Tre’s Squeeze labeled and ready to go on store shelves.

The first event will be from 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, August 7th inside the front of the store. Manhattan’s Hy-Vee is located at 601 N. 3rd Pl.

You can also follow Tre’s Squeeze on Facebook.

Tre said his next goal is to go on the TV show Shark Tank and make a deal with Mark Cuban.

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