ROCHESTER, NY – Those drinks we enjoy in bars or restaurants often come with a straw. If they’re plastic and disposable, environmentalists say they can create a big problem. It’s a problem one Rochester bar owner is trying to solve by opening another business.
A person walks into a bar. Order a drink. At Lux Lounge in Rochester, owner Karrie Laughton makes sure everything is top-notch.
“I love the bar business,” said Laughton, who opened Lux 20 years ago. “As soon as I got a taste of the bar stuff, I was like, ‘oh-oh. I’ve got the bug.'”
To help the environment, Lux only uses paper straws. The problem is that there are a lot of bad paper straws. And the good ones are hard to keep in stock.
“So that’s when I was like OK, there’s going to be a fix for this,” Laughton said. “And my solution was to do my own.”
It’s not often that a business owner starts a whole new business to solve a problem. But that’s exactly what Laughton – and her mother – did.
“I thought, ‘How hard can it be to make a paper straw?’ “said Karrie Laughton.
“So one day she called me and said, ‘Mom, we’re going to make paper straws,'” Kathryn Laughton said. “And I said, ‘you must be kidding.'”
“The moment I started the process, it set the wheels in motion and I reached out to my mum. I said, ‘hey, I have this crazy idea,’” Karrie said. “‘Let’s start making paper straws. Let’s start helping save the planet.’
This is how Roc Paper Straws was born. The problem with many paper straws is that they get soggy and crumble. Now, in a factory in Rochester, they make straws that they support. Paper straws that stand the test.
“We’re now at the point where we’re making a really, really good straw,” Karrie Laughton said.
Roc Paper Straws is one of the few American companies that manufactures paper straws. Straws aren’t the only eco-friendly part of the business. All the materials the company uses to make them are biodegradable.
“Obviously we make the perfect straw,” Kathryn said. “Because nobody complains about it.”
Starting a business can be difficult. Do it as a family, even more. But so far so good.
“I couldn’t imagine working with anyone else,” Karrie said. “I love working with my mother, every day.”
“It was absolutely wonderful,” added Kathryn. “We laugh a lot. We bicker from time to time. I just have to remember that she’s the boss and everything is perfect.
The person walks into a bar. Order a drink. Ask for a straw. The Laughtons have put the money on it – you won’t be disappointed.
“I hope everyone tries them out,” Karrie said. “And being like, ‘oh, paper straws don’t have to suck.'”