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Kristen Boggs-Merton and Bridgette Boggs opened Sincerely, Me Kava Lounge at 6900 Daniels Parkway, Unit 24, at the Publix-anchored Daniels Crossing in south Fort Myers.

What first started a few years ago for the mother-daughter duo as frequenting kava bars out of curiosity turned into the drive of starting their own business. “We both just kind of took a leap,” Boggs-Merton said. “We went with the motto: Small steps every day.”

The duo’s small steps evolved into career switches from teacher and accountant to business owners and kavatenders, who hosted their grand opening Jan. 26.

The menu offers kava and kratom cocktails, as well as regular mocktails. “It was really important for me when I was designing the menu to offer something for everybody,” Boggs-Merton said. “I wanted to be able to offer really beautiful drinks for everybody.”

The attention to detail seen throughout the lounge’s interior design carries over into each drink on the menu with its eye-catching rims and garnishes.

“We fell in love with kava and kratom,” Boggs-Merton said. “It became our alternative for our wine nights, so we stopped drinking alcohol. You just feel so much better, and you don’t have a hangover the next day.”

The two most popular drinks so far are the Berry Me in Roses, a kratom cocktail with passionfruit, rosé and strawberry with sweet rose caviar, and the My Magic Dragon, a kratom cocktail with dragon fruit, mango and lemonade with dragon fruit inclusions.

Kratom offerings are limited to those 21 and older, with red, green, gold and full spectrum veins offered at Sincerely, Me.

Kava offerings are limited to those 18 and older, with both cocktails and traditional shell kava on the menu, where customers can pick from one of Sincerely, Me’s premium selection of kava varieties.

“Our shells come in single or double,” Boggs-Merton said. “People would usually just put a cream with these or they just come straight with a pineapple wedge on the side, while the rest are more like an actual cocktail.”

Sincerely, Me also offers six on tap seltzers, with the big hit being the Delta 9 Lemon Pound Cake. To be as inclusive as possible, regular mocktails are offered, including Strawberry Spritz and Cotton Candy Cooler.

Considering the mother-daughter duo’s background in accounting and education, Boggs-Merton said every single recipe is down to a science. “Everything’s perfectly measured out,” she said. “If you order a drink one day and you come back or the next day, you’re going to get the exact same drink.”

Sincerely, Me has live music and Sue’s Crepes food truck on hand every Tuesday, with a Galentine’s Day event coming up and trivia nights in the works. The kava lounge also offers a private room available for rent for events and a propagation wall where guests can take a plant cutting and leave a plant cutting.

Boggs-Merton wanted to open a fresh take from what consumers might be used to for kava bars, which are typically a bit dimmer and darker in terms of interior design and lighting.

“This is a bright kava bar,” Boggs-Merton said. “I really tried to curate an experience for people who come in here.”

Down to the name of the lounge, which is how Boggs-Merton would conclude her diary entries in childhood, the duo aims to create a space where everyone is welcome to be themselves and take ownership of their own stories.

Sincerely, Me is open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 10 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays. Hours will be extended once additional staff are hired.

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