FARMINGTON – Co-owners of Farmington’s Determined Nutrition, Darlene Blyce and Danielle Allen, launched the RoeUrBoat tea in early April in response to the passing of TikTok influencer and LGBTQ+ community inspiration Rochelle Hager on March 29. Boyce and Allen heard of her passing the day after and, as followers of her TikTok account, wanted to pay tribute to Hager in a meaningful way.
“We reached out to her fiancée Brittanie Richie to see what we could do,” said Blyce.
After discovering that Hager had been an avid Steeler’s fan, they decided to design a drink at their business in honor of her and donate all of the proceeds to Richie. The RoeUrBoat tea is a combination of pineapple and grape, creating a yellow and black pattern, and is named after Rochelle’s TikTok handle. The tea has only been on the menu for a few weeks now, but through social media advertising, has only begun to prove an immense success. Initially, there were some concerns that the money earned from purchases wasn’t really going to Richie, so Blyce and Allen invited her to the shop to come up with a solution. The two filmed Richie making the RoeUrBoat tea, and once her involvement and gratitude for the project was confirmed on social media, the public responded with an overwhelming wave of support. The video had over 170,000 views and reached across the nation. Determined Nutrition began to receive orders for the tea all over the United States from people wanting to show their support for Roe’s legacy.
“We tell people to call us anytime, even if you’re in a different time zone. We’ll do our best to take as many orders as we can. We fall asleep with our phones in our hands,” said Allen.
As of right now, Determined Nutrition is only a three-person crew, which demanded that Allen and Blyce acquire some help in keeping up with the shipping orders for the new RoeUrBoat tea.
The local Farmington post office employees were ready to lend a hand.
“We may be a three-man crew here, but we have our post office crew that we couldn’t do this without. They come in with boxes for us at six in the morning or five at night, whatever we need,” said Allen.
They have since started shipping to Canada, Australia and Ireland as well as nationally. As orders continued to flow in and word of Determined Nutrition’s honorary initiative spread, some of the calls that Allen and Blyce received were not just purchase requests, but were callers wanting to share their stories of how they were similarly impacted by Hager’s influence. They sought out Allen and Blyce as those who were also grieving the loss of a positive force in the world.
“People calling us telling us that Roe helped me come out, or she helped me get clean. We want to hear these stories. We’re all ears,” said Blyce.
“And these are not just a few,” added Allen. “These are thousands of people calling in. It makes our hearts full to do this fund. You know, Roe’s quote, her gift to the world, was ‘it takes $0 to be kind.’ We made that promise to her family to maintain it. We promise as Determined Nutrition we’ll hold her memory forever.”
The two have formed an unbreakable bond with both Richie and Hager’s family. Blyce and Allen talk to both of them every day and have since found a new understanding for Hager’s generosity and kindness.
“Roe didn’t come from nowhere. Her family has welcomed us with open arms and we can see where she got it,” said Allen.
As news of Determined Nutrition’s effort to help Richie and pay tribute to Hager continues to reach from Farmington, Maine to Alaska to Hawaii, the business owners have received calls from other businesses who wish to partner with them in some way.
“We want to keep it in-house though, because for them, it’s not about Roe. It’s about profiting and that’s not what this is about. Determined Nutrition was just the vessel for us to give,” said Boyce.
The RoeUrBoat tea will remain a permanent menu item and proceeds will continue to go to support Richie. Each time an order is placed, Roe’s quote of kindness appears on the order screen so that the customer knows the legacy they are taking part in with something as small as buying a tea.