Bringing the beach to South Dakota

21 Jun


It all started with a cruise.

Trey (’05 journalism & mass communication) and Becah (’05 chemical engineering)  Fliehs discovered that they loved to travel – especially when the travel took them to the Caribbean islands. After they graduated from Iowa State, they began a tradition of taking cruises to the islands each January.

On the first one, in 2006, they traveled with a group of more than 30 people and determined that they needed a name.

“If you’re going to tote around 32 people on a traveling event, you’ve got to be able to corral everybody somehow,” Becah said. “We were trying to think of fun names, and we came up with Team Cocktail.”

Every year, the “Team Cocktail” group got bigger and bigger.

“Everywhere we went, people wanted to know how they could become a member of Team Cocktail,” Trey said.

A few years ago, the couple was on Barbados, looking at T-shirts and lamenting the quality.

“When we’d get home and wash the shirts, they would shrink up,” Trey said. “So we got the idea to make high quality, fun T-shirts you could wear either on vacation or once you get home.”

Becah and Trey – along with Trey’s sister, Lyndsey Fliehs Higgins (’02 marketing and management) – decided to take Team Cocktail to the masses. With a logo design and trademark, the company launched a website in 2010. Today, Team Cocktail offers Caribbean-based T-shirts, polo shirts, board shorts, and accessories online, in retail shops in 25 states, and on several islands. They also sell merchandise at country music concerts and festivals. The company has recently branched out to offer special cruise packages, excursions, and beach getaways.

The island lifestyle is in direct contrast to Trey and Becah’s day-to-day lives in Groton, S.D. Trey is a third-generation farmer, working alongside his father and grandfather on a 10,000-acre corn and soybean farm in the northeast part of the state. Becah is a technical manager at the POET ethanol plant down the road and is also active on the farm. All the corn grown on the farm is sold to the ethanol plant.

“We represent the next generation of farmers who break the traditional mold of how people view the career,” Becah said.

Though South Dakota has a reputation for being located in “blizzard alley,” Trey and Becah agree that the state is “quiet, calm, and beautiful.” And, at least, it’s not as cold as its northern neighbor.

“We’re the tropical Dakota,” Becah laughs.

2 Responses to “Bringing the beach to South Dakota”

  1. Susan Anderson June 21, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

    It’s great to see ISU alums who are going with a new idea, having fun and being successful. My husband and I are Parrot Heads and completely understand the lure the ocean. Dave is also an ISU graduate (1974). And I assume you know, Coach Rhoads is a Jimmy Buffett fan!

    I follow your Facebook page and have visited your website. I even have a t-shirt!

    This is a great story! Fins up!

  2. Trey June 21, 2013 at 7:41 pm #

    Hi Susan, it’s definitely easy to fall in love with the islands! We really hope you like following us on Facebook & the t-shirt you have! Cheers & Fins Up!

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