What started out as an idea at USF’s Student Innovation Incubator has now ballooned into a business.

Aquamelon is watermelon juice, bottled and now sold in several stores in the Bay Area. The brainchild of then-graduate student Desmond Williams began in a small office at the university.

Just a year later, orders have grown so much that Aquamelon now calls a warehouse in Plant City home. It shares space with Wish Farms.

“We have a plant that has scalable manufacturing space," Williams said. "We’re small, but we have room to grow."

The Aquamelon team can process much more juice now, thanks to the new warehouse and some new equipment. A labeling system means Williams doesn’t spend hours anymore doing it by hand.

But the biggest change is yet to come. A major supermarket has approached Williams with the idea of putting Aquamelon on its store shelves. The negotiations are secret, but let’s just say you’ve heard of the store before.

Williams knows it’s possible to make enough of the juice to meet that demand, but it will take more growth.

As a result, Aquamelon has started a new crowdfunding campaign to offer people the chance to help, and get in on the ground floor.

“In order to make this product accessible through a big retail chain grocer for everybody to buy it all over the place, we need people to join us in the charge,” said Williams.

It’s a tall order, but with how far the company’s come in just one year, Williams knows it’s possible.

“To see it materialize has been pretty cool. It’s been a fast ride,” he said.

Williams attributes the success to fans of the product, his coworkers, and USF for providing him the education to turn an idea into reality.

For more information on Aquamelon go to: www.aquamelonwater.com