Youssef Bastawy smiled as he instructed his employees to prepare an iced mango, prickly pear and jasmine drink, his personal favorite.
Bastawy is the owner of Bobazona, a boba tea and drink shop at 15591 W. Roosevelt Street, Suite 110, Goodyear. He opened the shop with his family in late July, at the height of the pandemic.
Along with boba drinks, fruity or traditional tea flavors originated in Taiwan with tapioca or jelly bubbles — boba — the shop serves several other drinks, such as coffee, iced tea and unique energy drinks. There is also a full gelato bar with a variety of flavors.
Still, as the Bobazona name implies, the focus is the shop’s variety of customizable boba drinks. Base drink options range from oolong or black tea to kumquat lemon or lychee fruit, and boba options such as passionfruit, chocolate or aloe vera. With many more of each, Bastawy hopes there is a drink that can fit everybody’s palate.
He believes as boba catches on nationwide, there will be more demand for it in the West Valley.
“It’s something new, trendy, and one day maybe Americans will drink it like they drink coffee every morning. That’s part of the culture now, so why not boba tea the same way? That’s the goal,” he said.
The idea of owning a boba tea shop entered Bastawy’s mind five years ago. For years, he was a car salesman and thought about making the switch. He wanted to open his own shop, and when the building location in rapidly expanding Goodyear opened for tenants early in 2020, he felt it was time to make the leap.
Bastawy runs the business with his wife, Becky. He also employs other family members but chuckled when he said his 3-year-old son was not quite old enough to work there yet. He is very into the gelato, though.
“This shop is something for me and the family. I want everybody to have this, especially my son. I want them to be part of the whole thing for the future,” Bastawy said.
Opening his doors in July amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he admitted he was worried about how the new business would do at first. However, he said other businesses in the area frequent his shop for drinks. The location, along with a great product, has helped smooth the troubling transition.
“They love everything we serve,” he said.
“Even though there’s a pandemic, everyone wants to have boba. They want to get a drink, of course social distanced and wearing their masks. But for a new store opening around this time, we are doing alright. People are excited because there aren’t other boba places around here.”
While the Bastawy family has focused mainly on running the still-new business in Goodyear, there are thoughts of expanding. There is even an early plan to open a second shop.
But he does not yet want to make public his timeline or proposed location.
“If I gave that out, I think a bunch of people would jump on it,” he said. “But I want to go everywhere. All throughout Arizona and even further.”
For now, though, Bastawy and his family want to make Bobazona the best it can be. With new flavor ideas popping up periodically and running a small business in a troubling economic period, there are still many things to be worked out. However, from about half a year’s worth of work, the future looks bright.
“We’re really excited so far. It’s been a lot of fun,” Bastawy said.
For more information, call 623-322-1999 or visit bobazona.com.