Playa Bowls: Bringing a Healthy Dining Option to State College

Playa Bowls Penn State

“It has been my dream to return to State College and build a business, and I’m proud to say I’ve accomplished that goal” – Desiree Arroyo

Desiree Arroyo, a Penn State alum, is the owner of a new business, called Playa Bowls. Playa Bowls is a popular Jersey Shore-based açaí bowl restaurant chain.

Desiree opened the State College location, along with Playa Bowls artist Ramona Schatzer. Ramona has painted murals, surfboards, and other decorations at many of the chain’s locations, including the Penn State location.

Desiree discovered this restaurant chain as someone who enjoyed healthy dining options. She quickly realized this could be her dream, starting up a business in State College and being part of the Playa Bowls franchise.

Desiree and Ramona found the SBDC by looking for help in the State College business community and signed up for a Penn State SBDC business consultation. They were then able to use the information from research and the time spent with Penn State SBDC business consultant John Peterson to continue their business journey.

The Penn State SBDC helped Desiree and Ramona by providing them marketing assistance for their press release, ribbon cutting, and media contacts, as well as zoning and suppliers help. Desiree started this business journey in the summer of 2018, and the grand opening comes nearly six months after the announcement that chain was coming to State College.

Impact and Results

Desiree and Ramona are hiring thirty-nine part-time employees. The business offers an unfulfilled gap within a target market who enjoys healthy eating. Playa Bowls also offers community outreach with fundraisers for student groups at Penn State and with THON. Playa Bowls opened in January 2019 at The Legacy, 482 E. Calder Way with a ribbon-cutting hosted by the SBDC.