Last June, Terry and his wife opened Smooth Drinxx, a smoothie shop, located on the second floor of the Grand Avenue Mall in downtown Milwaukee.
"We're doing okay, so far, and seeing some profit," said Sanders, when asked to assess the current state of his business venture. "In fact, we're doing well enough, now that we'd like to hire a part-time employee – preferably, a Marquette student. It'd be a great opportunity for a student who wants to learn more about the sales business – very similar to a paid internship."
Smooth Drinxx is the brainchild of Rabia, who graduated from Marquette in 2004 with a degree in Finance. The couple elected to set up shop at the mall after market research revealed that theirs would be the only healthy drink business housed at that location. Terry and his wife are also currently looking into expanding their marketing efforts, including possibly selling their product at the Bradley Center during Marquette games.
"It's really a great drink," said Sanders. "Our smoothies come in a variety of flavors, and give customers the option to mix and match to make their own combinations. It's fat free, all natural, with no syrups or additives, and they're approximately only 130 calories each."
Smooth Drinxx is open seven days a week, from 10 am – 7 pm, Monday-Friday; 10 am - 6 pm Saturday; and 11 am – 5 pm Sunday. Terry can be found at the store in the afternoons and on weekends. During the week, he's otherwise employed as a teacher at Samuel Clements Elementary School in Milwaukee.
Prior to entering the education field, the 6'8" Sanders took his '04 degree in Communication and pursued a career in basketball. His first stop was in Luxembourg, where he averaged 23 points, a league-high 14 rebounds and 5 blocks a game. He then played in the Middle East, before returning to the States to try out with the Rockford Lightning of the Continental Basketball Association.
The teaching opportunity came at somewhat of a crossroads in Sanders' life. "I just was sitting at home, waiting on my next basketball job," said Sanders, who began teaching 4th and 5th grade at the school in December of 2005. "I was the last preseason cut of the Lightning, so I was working out, waiting for the phone to ring, when my mother-in-law, who teaches at the school, told me there was an opening there. I checked into it, liked it, and I've been there ever since."
The 25-year old Sanders still plays in recreational leagues and in the summers with current Marquette players but, over a year removed from his last basketball assignment, he's come to terms with the likelihood of never playing professionally again.
"I didn't see a long-term future in basketball," said the Milwaukee Vincent graduate. "The league I played in in Luxembourg wasn't very competitive – probably the equivalent of playing in a low D(ivision)-2 conference; I was ready to try something different."
Still, his basketball career and experiences at Marquette taught him valuable lessons, which Sanders believes will translate well into his business career.
"I learned so many things at Marquette – most importantly, to really work hard, whether it's at your career or at family relationships," said Sanders. "Understand that they'll be ups and downs, but if you work with focus and determination and go the extra mile, things will work out for you. I also learned how to be a responsible person at Marquette, to treat people with respect and to value the virtue of life."
Sanders treasures his time at Marquette and still keeps in regular contact with Coach Crean and many of his ex-teammates.
"I really miss Marquette, but maintaining relationships with guys like Scott (Merritt), Travis (Diener), Steve (Novak), Robert (Jackson), Marcus (Jackson) and Dwyane (Wade) helps make it easier. We were – and still are – a very close knit group. And that's due to Coach Crean. He promoted a close knit environment. I don't think every college team can say they have that.
Coach continues to be a real supportive influence in my life. Our relationship has only grown stronger since I left school. I know I can always call on him for help and he'll be there."
**If you are downtown, be sure to stop in and see Terry Sanders at SMOOTH DRINXX at the Grand Avenue Mall!!