As the Baltimore area goes through another white-hot July, one Towson man is thinking cool thoughts.
Mike Pyne, a Glendale resident and Rodgers Forge native, runs a Maui Wowi smoothie stand that's become a mainstay of the .
Pyne's is one of only a few Maui Wowi franchisees in Maryland—most in the U.S. are retail locations, but all the ones in the state are stands like Pyne's.
You'll find Pyne's colorful stand not just at the market, but at fairs, festivals and private events around the Towson area.
Pyne had just gotten out of the pit beef business earlier this year. He found Maui Wowi on an entrepreneurship website and said he was attracted by "the quality of the product and the ease of making it compared to a 14-hour smoking of pork shoulder and pit beef."
So, since April, instead of slaving behind a grill, Pyne, clad in a Hawaiian shirt, spends his time chilling behind his movable smoothie feast with his wife, Amanda.
In an average day at the market, he may go through two cases of bananas—and gets funny looks when checking out at grocery stores when he goes to restock.
"I usually overbuy," he said. "You've got to bring a manager over and explain."
And believe it or not, but the near-record heat has actually been bad for business, Pyne said.
"I've found the heat keeps people from the events, but everyone that's there wants a smoothie," he said.
Pyne offers flavors like strawberry, mango orange and (his favorite) black raspberry. At events outside of the market, he serves up iced coffee, and at events with liquor licenses, he may work in margaritas and other icy treats.
At home, he sometimes experiments with his own smoothie flavors with help from his 3 1/2-year-old daughter, Mia.
"Only at home and usually when I have some leftover blends to have my daughter taste-test them," he said. "You can usually tell by her facial expression right away if it's a good flavor mix."
Check out the every Thursday from 10:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Allegheny Avenue between York Road and Washington Avenue.