If you knew Devin Espadron, you would know he was going places. Literally. Devin Espadron, the late founder of Element Beverage Company who lost his life to senseless gun violence in New Orleans, never rested on his laurels and was always intent on carving out a niche for himself no matter what area of life he chose to go in. An aspiring rap artist and avid outdoors personality, Devin spent time at both Shaw and St. Augustine High Schools participating in baseball, swimming, and basketball prior to joining an entrepreneurship program during his senior year at St. Augustine. It was this entrepreneurship program at St. Augustine High School that helped propel a love, desire, and passion for launching his now nationally recognized brand Element Beverage Company in 2016.
Espadron, who spent time at Coca-Cola’s bottling plant in Atlanta, Georgia as part of the entrepreneurship program administered by St. Augustine High School, made sure his parents – David Espadron and Keishia Deverney – knew the path he would soon follow as an entrepreneur. “He (Devin) really excelled in it.” Keishia Deverney explained. “He really got interested in it and met a lot of business people around the city. He took a trip to Coca-Cola in Atlanta and when he came back he said I am starting a beverage company. He was really excited about what he learned and seen at Coca-Cola. This is what he (Devin) wanted to do.”
Devin Espadron’s first flavor release for Element Beverage Company came in 2016 launching its then flagship pineapple-lemonade. Tireless as a student and entrepreneur, Espadron would get home from school and mix different juices with his grandmother until he knew the type of taste his consumers would love to drink. Never lacking in self confidence as evidenced by his choice of attire – suit and ties- Espadron would traverse the city of New Orleans selling his now famous pineapple-lemonade in one gallon jugs to restaurants, people in the community, and his high school classmates and faculty. He would even correct his mother from time-to-time to make sure she knew this was no juice. It is a beverage. “For graduation, we asked Devin what he wanted for graduation and he said Beverage Dispensers.” Deverney told blkpreneurship.com. “He (Devin) said yes, Beverage Dispensers. I am going to put them in the restaurants. And that’s what he did! He started at a restaurant in the French Quarters called N’awlins, he had a beverage dispenser there, he had one at We Dat’s and Lil Dizzy’s. He would go and fill up these dispensers like every other day and he (Devin) started making a lot of money so the buzz got around and everyone started wanting the pineapple-lemonade.”
Known as an inspiring force to the community, Devin Espadron would help others as an entrepreneur by sharing business information to whomever he felt like needed the extra help. A young man wise beyond his years, if those people he helped most could describe the entrepreneur in one word; it would be as an influencer. “Everybody who I meet now that knew Devin said that he was so inspirational to them. He was like a genius. He was beyond his years.” Deverney stated. “I get a lot of people who send me pictures and videos and they were just saying that Devin really inspired them to do things they were really afraid to do. I would actually say he (Devin) was an influencer. He was an inspiration to a lot of young people who did not think they could make it out here.”
Now, after a year and a half since Devin Espadron tragically lost his life to senseless gun violence in New Orleans, his parents – David Espadron and Keishia Deverney – have become advocates and outspoken in the areas of gun violence, which ultimately cost everyone a chance to witness Devin’s continued greatness. A long time entrepreneur in the paint and body industry himself, David Espadron shares his thoughts on how improvements can be made with the youth in the inner city of New Orleans. “I think today these parents need to sit down and spend some time with their kids and see what they want to do.” David Espadron told blkpreneurship.com. “If they see one of their kids interested in something, help them. They need that help. I think that is part of the reason why there is so much killing in New Orleans because the parents are not doing their job. It starts with them.”
With a foundation now created and named in his memory, the Devin Espadron Entrepreneurship Giveback Foundation ensures availability of funds and resources for aspiring entrepreneurs who need help in getting started with business essentials in addition to targeting at-risk youth in the greater New Orleans area. Deverney realizes the role others played in helping her son in achieving his dreams and wants to do the same for others as well. “We may have to help them with family counseling. We may have to help them with some type of resource for job training. The foundation just wants to give back to youthful small businesses and at-risk youth. A lot of people helped our son out here so we want to be able to give back.”
Follow Element Beverage Company on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/drinkelement/
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