Decatur’s Newest Pitstop

Decatur alum takes on business venture following graduation

Raquel+Lara%2C+owner+of+Raquels+Refreshments%2C+is+all+smiles+in+her+food+truck.+Raquels+Refreshments+sells+iced+coffees%2C+smoothies%2C+juices+as+well+as+food+items.

Submitted Photo

Raquel Lara, owner of Raquel’s Refreshments, is all smiles in her food truck. Raquel’s Refreshments sells iced coffees, smoothies, juices as well as food items.

Allie Tribe, Editor

Senior year is marked by one thing: decisions. For college bound students, the race starts in the fall, with applications sent off in August, while those heading to the workforce are faced with questions of where to work. The pressure to make the right decision tints the year with a dark cloud of gloom, the feeling of a fast approaching future when they have few answers. Above all, seniors struggle to follow what they want versus what is presented as the “normal path.” For Decatur alum Raquel Lara, these doubts didn’t stop her, but rather inspired her to dive headfirst into an unconventional senior year decision.

Lara, a graduate of the DHS class of 2021, planned to go to Baylor University and major in biology, but that all changed on a spring break trip to Main Event. On the ride over, Lara and her friend found a piece missing from the Wise County drink scene: boba, a bubble tea drink that originates from Taiwan. While Lara originally joked about the matter, she quickly realized that she might have stumbled upon a valuable idea.

After discussing more about the topic, I realized it was more than a joke and that the need for a fun boba shop and healthy refreshment place was truly missing in Wise County,” Lara said. 

With that, Lara changed the course of her future. Rather than attend Baylor University, Lara decided to launch her new business and attend Weatherford College to finish her basics. She settled on the name Raquel’s Refreshments for her food truck, filed for the necessary permits and launched her business Aug. 24, 2021 at the Wise County Weatherford location.

“We sell a variety of beverages such as iced coffee, fruit smoothies, natural juices, lemonades, and so much more,” Lara said. “Everyone seems to enjoy the drinks as much as I enjoy making them.”

Lara’s schedule now consists of parking at the Decatur Service Station Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and parking at the Wise County Weatherford campus on Thursdays. Since the initial opening, she also expanded from just drinks and now sells tacos and other food items. 

To make this business successful, Lara capitalized on two things: the viral rise of boba and the bright, pink color of her truck. Teenagers and young adults alike are driven by trying the newest viral trend, and drinks that are Instagram ready are one of them. Between her 

picture-ready drinks and the signature pink of Raquel’s Refreshments, Lara was able to draw in business from the get go. 

“Everyone seems to enjoy the drinks as much as I enjoy making them! We have some regulars that have been coming since day one and others that are just now discovering my page,” Lara said. “I love creating fun seasonal drinks that no other restaurants have and turning them into aesthetic social media posts that people find appealing.”

While Lara’s enjoyed the creativity required to brainstorm new products, she hasn’t escaped the challenges that come with owning a small business. Unlike a corporate job, Lara never gets to clock out of her job and found that getting a new business up and running takes extra work behind the scenes to make it a success. Despite the extra time and energy Lara puts in, she’s hopeful for the future and the new opportunities it could bring for Raquel’s Refreshments.

“I’m excited for next year and hope to participate in events such as Reunion, football games, the annual food truck contest in May, and some other fun community events around town,” Lara said. 

While Lara was more than ready to ditch the conventional after she graduated, she understands the concerns of seniors trying to make plans for the future. To those seniors still stuck on what to pursue, Lara gives the advice to not feel pressured by others’ timing.

“To any senior struggling with figuring out what to do after high school, my advice would be to simply take as much time as needed and find something you are truly passionate about,” Lara said. “It may take longer for some people to find the path they decide to take, but do not let others rush you into something you are not ready for or something you don’t like.”