Kaylee Gaskins at her Hang Ten Smoothies business. Photo by P. Vankevich


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Editor’s note:  This article was first published in the August 2016 print edition. It is updated at end. 

Text and photos By Peter Vankevich

Kaylee Gaskins is among the island’s next generation of business owners.

Hang Ten Smoothies in a funky kiosk on Irvin Garrish Hwy. across from the Thurston House B&B, sells a variety of fruit-based smoothies and coffee drinks.

“I wanted to have a beachy-sounding name,” she said about the business that started out a bit differently.

That vibe is reflected in the drink names, such as “Pipeline,” “Southern Bell,” “Island Time,” among others.

Begun in 2011 by her aunt Marlene Mathews and originally called Yum Yum, it primarily sold coffee, lattes and lemonade and catered to those heading to the ferries.

Later, the name changed to Island Grinds and was managed by Nancy Leach, then Beach O’Neal.

By working there as an employee for the past two summers, Kaylee learned how the business operates and this year took it over.

Running her own business has been a lot of fun, she said.

“One of my biggest challenges is to make sure my ingredients are ordered and in stock,” she said.

This is important since her food distributor makes deliveries to Ocracoke only twice a week.

This is important for all island food purveyors who makes deliveries to Ocracoke one or two times a week.

When the Hatteras ferry isn’t running, this makes for an added challenge.

Kaylee, entering senior year, is an honor roll student and on the cross-country team at Ocracoke School.

A hands-on entrepreneur, she is running the business herself.

“I’ve learned a lot this summer and have been so happy with the support of the community and, especially my friends,” she said.

While most of her clientele have been visitors, islanders also stop by, she said.

The shop is open daily 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; closed on Sundays.

Update: Kaylee Gaskins graduated this June and will study education at Beaufort County Community College. She received $1,600 including a new scholarship this year of $100 from the school’s first grade, with whom Gaskins worked this year.  For the story on this year’s  graduation, click here.

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