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Eat, Drink, Be Famous

Energetic entrepreneurs launch distinctive drink

May 23, 2010
By LINDSAY CAMERON Tribune Chronicle correspondent
After brainstorming for 10 years on a product, Rob Magada and his company plan to make Youngstown famous with their energy drink. It took just six months before Magada’s creation, Famous Energy Drink, hit the shelves in February with a flavor different from all other energy drinks: blueberry. The work it took to form the company and create the product was worth it according to Magada and his partners — the drink is now sold in 177 locations such as Sparkle, BP, Shell and Giant Eagle. “Everyone will try to be on your side in the beginning, or they’ll tell you you’re stupid,” said Brent Furrie, the president of sales and marketing for Famous Energy. “If you’re passionate enough, you can make anything happen. You won’t mind putting 20 hours a day in for the first five months if you’re passionate about it.” Now, the game plan is to saturate the Warren-Youngstown area with the slogan “Drink Famous. Play Famous. Be Famous.” Magada, 30, of Boardman, was traveling the country selling research chemicals to pharmaceutical companies, always looking for a business to start. He used his connections to land a contract with a pharmaceutical company in New Jersey that now manufactures Famous Energy. The first step was creating a flavor profile. Magada said it took 18 attempts to “get it right.” Trials included a spin-off of Red Bull, cherry and cranberry. He chose blueberry because it is original. Even Monster, with more than 20 flavors, does not come in blueberry. Magada also wanted his product to be “smooth,” with no aftertaste like other energy drinks. Famous Energy has four B vitamins compared to others’ two and contains less of the amino acid taurine than Red Bull. The amount of caffeine in one Famous is equal to the amount in a cup of coffee. Magada then approached friend Michael Owens, owner of Owens Construction in Austintown, to invest in the product. Owens, 31, thought of the name and designed the logo for the drink. He said he wanted the image to be stylish and hip — something that would make you feel, well, famous. Then Magada asked Furrie, owner of Gossip Nightclub and Rumors Lounge in Austintown, to join the team. Furrie said he fell in love with the idea instantly. Furrie, who was already in the business field and whose father owns five Sparkle markets, had many connections — 5,000 Facebook friends, to start. “We made the hype for it first and then we brought in the product,” Furrie said. Because of Furrie, Famous Energy is now distributed by Ohio Wine, which covers the markets in Ashtabula, Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties. Owens said many entrepreneurs do not research their products or the market for those products before they begin their companies. This research, as well as persistence and communication, are vital, according to Owens. “You’ve got to communicate and be a team player,” Owens said. The next step is to find other distributors, and Owens said anyone who wants to sell Famous Energy in their venue may find the contact information on their website. In the next two months, street teams in a Famous Energy van will sell and give away samples of the drink throughout downtown Pittsburgh as Ohio Wine expands into the Pittsburgh market. Magada explained the goals he and his partners share for Famous Energy. “To put it simply: to be nationwide and to bring a lot of publicity to Youngstown / Warren area; to keep the base of the company in Youngstown. So, we want to bring a positive image to the area and at the same time grow the company,” Magada said. And if the three friends end up famous in the process, it would be even better.

Article Photos

Tribune Chronicle photos / Lindsay Cameron
From left, Michael Owens, Rob Magada and Brent Furrie, shown here at Club Gossip in Austintown, are marketing their Famous Energy Drink.

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