Nashville Notables: Stephanie Waring, Juice Nashville
Having just coming off my fourth 3-day juice cleanse from Juice Nashville, feeling better than ever, it’s only fitting to feature Music City’s healthiest hot spot. Stephanie Waring and her plethora of cold pressed juice blends are taking the Tennessee community by storm. As the first local juicery in town, Juice Nashville is more than just a place to grab the healthiest, most delicious cold-pressed goodness. Waring and her team of friendly faces are creating more. They’ve created a juice community that is growing by droves.
Most of my trips to Juice Nashville’s location in The Gulch consist of grabbing one of my favorite cold beverage blends (Sing, Hot Stuff and Snap are a few of my go-tos) and catching up on the latest town gossip with Waring. And recently, once we pressed the last of the Nashville “juice” dry, I got the chance to dive a little deeper into the business, the process and Waring’s story. Her story is inspiring, her business is thriving and her juice is the best available.
Interview with Juice Nashville’s Stephanie Waring
Chris Vetrano: Tell me why you decided to start Juice Nashville.
Stephanie Waring: About 6 years ago, I got really sick. And it scared the daylights of me. Outside of having a bad cold, I had never been sick to the point of being unable to walk across a room or get out of bed. I was literally in and out of the hospital and I was in constant pain. I went to every type of doctor across Nashville and no one could pinpoint the exact issue. My older brother had recently started juicing and recommended that I buy a juicer. By adding juice to my diet, I started feeling better. It was truly amazing and it changed my life. I was determined to learn everything I could about juicing. In the process, I learned about cold-pressed juice and its amazing benefits. I couldn’t stop talking about it! In June 2011, I decided to leave my corporate job to share juice with Nashville. In August we sold the very first bottle of cold-pressed juice made in the state of Tennessee at the Nashville Farmer’s Market.
Chris: Many people do not know the benefits of cold pressed juice vs. juicing with a traditional juicer. What is the major difference between the two?
Stephanie: It’s a really remarkable difference. (Get ready for the fun, technical stuff…!) With a traditional juicer, also known as a centrifugal juicer, the process of separating the juice from the produce is kind of rough. Fruits and vegetables are pushed inside the feed chute against a metal disk. The disk spins at a very high speed, applying heat to the produce. The combination of the heat & the oxygen that is pushed inside the tube, kickstarts the oxidation process. With each passing minute, you start losing significant nutrients, enzymes and vitamins. These juicers are great for convenience and speed but people don’t realize – it can’t be stored and must be consumed within a few minutes.
The best example of oxidation happens when you cut open an apple. After a few seconds, you will notice it turning brown. The apple is starting to decompose. Centrifugal juicers whip large amounts of oxygen into the juice causing the juice to break down quickly.
Now, my heart belongs to cold-pressed juice. This is the only type of juicer we use in our business. The hydraulic press is a very labor-intensive process and has two steps. Step one, we grind the produce into a pulp and it is captured in a large cloth bag. Next, the cloth bag is gently pressed, releasing the juice. Because the pulp is pressed, oxidation and heat is minimal. It delivers the highest quality, nutrient dense juice (plus, the flavor is very smooth and vibrant) Another benefit, cold-pressed juice maintains its benefits for 3 full days in a sealed container.
Chris: You are the first (and best) local juice bar in Nashville. Any plans to franchise Juice in other markets?
Stephanie: Thanks Chris! We have been approached for years about franchising. At this time, we don’t have any concrete plans to franchise. To keep it real, it makes me kind of nervous. This area is really not in my “wheel house” and we really don’t want to lose the “soul and spirit” that makes our business unique. But, one thing I have learned is “never say never” to something that makes me uncomfortable. We will see what the future has in store for us!
Chris: What’s the hardest part of running a successful business? And how did you overcome some of the initial hurdles of entering the Music City marketplace?
Stephanie: When we started our business, juice really was an untested market in Tennessee – especially cold pressed juice. In order for our business to grow, we chose to take a grassroots approach, selling in the Farmers Markets, teaching people about the benefits of juice – basically building our brand on a shoestring and a lot of prayer. Honestly, the hardest part has been the surge of similar (and very well funded businesses) concepts across the city. We are a true family-owned, independent business and haven’t taken investors or loans to fund our growth. So, we need to find creative ways to grow our business. It is good for us though! It helps keep us sharp. We are constantly looking for ways to innovate and bring new, fun ideas to the community.
Chris: As Nashville continues to grow, you are planning expansion of your brand (including the opening of the location at Nashville Farmer’s Market). What’s next for Juice Nashville? World domination? 😉
Stephanie: Yaaass! We want to grow! The trick for us is to grow at a pace that allows us to remain free, while meeting the community’s needs. When I worked for Mars Inc. (one of the world’s largest family-owned corporations… and yes, they make Snickers and M&M’s) I learned about the businesses’ “Five Principles”. These principles were created by the Mars family and are the foundation of their business. One of the Principles that we have adopted for our business, is the “Freedom” Principle. It basically states that their profit will determine their ability to expand and grow. Which means, they chose a different way to grow in order to remain a true family owned business. I really respect that. We are keeping all options open, but for now we are happily “free.” In the New Year, be on the look out for our new Nashville Farmers Market location, new blends & kits and other fun product line expansions.
Chris: You’re a long time resident of Music City. What’re your go-to local restaurants, shops or experiences that you recommend to people coming to Nashville?
Stephanie: There are so many great things to do in Nashville! I am a great fan of the local Farmers Markets found across our city. They are some of the best in the country and you won’t find a hard-working group of local entrepreneurs anywhere. And of course, I always take friends and family to The Gulch! I have been so happy to be a part of the growth in that neighborhood. The Gulch has some of Nashville’s finest restaurants, shops and fitness options across the city. Some of my favorite spots include Results Fitness and Epic Yoga (located inside 1212), Blush, Barre 3, Saint Anejo, HotBox, e.Allen, Prima and Turnip Truck. I am pretty excited about our new neighbor, Otaku South too!
Chris: When you’re not helping make Nashville a healthier place at Juice Nashville, where would people find you spending some much needed down time in our city?
Stephanie: Great question! I am embarking on a new journey that has been taking up a good chunk of my free time. I will be launching a new blog and YouTube channel called “The Stephanie Life Project.” I am really excited and nervous about it – because essentially I am building a new brand and entering a completely new arena. Juice is one part of who I am as a person – the channel will talk about some of the other sides – being a mom, a wife, a “wanna-be” ballet dancer and makeup artist, frustrations, embarking on new journeys, making new friends. We will also talk about the things people ask me about every day – starting a business from scratch, social media, juicing, how to balance it all. It is a deeply personal project and I can’t wait to share it with everyone.
Outside of that, you can find me at home, hanging with my husband and two very cute, but very bad dogs, Noel and Leon.
Chris: Starting a brand and business like Juice Nashville is tough. What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone trying to start a small business?
Stephanie: Just do it. Life is too short to question the “what if”. If you have an idea, write it down, create the logo, build the website, start talking about it – in other words, bring your vision to life! There is never the perfect time to take the leap. But, the sooner you harness your creative energy and desire into action, the sooner your vision will come to life.
Chris: What’s your favorite flavor of the Juice Nashville’s offerings?
Stephanie: Whenever people ask me this question I always say, “That’s asking me to choose my favorite child!” (lol) My favorite blend changes from day to day. Some of my all-time faves include “Sing.” (green apple, kale, spinach, lemon), “coffee chocolate almond!” (Eighth and Roast cold brew coffee, raw cacao, almonds, dates, water) and “Happy.” (pineapple, carrot, orange, ginger)
Chris: What’s one new flavor that we have to look forward to? What’s in it?
Stephanie: We just introduced “cranberry nice.” (cranberry, pineapple, carrot). It is quickly turning into a customer favorite!
Chris: Your recipes for all the juices you carry are 100% unique and created by you. Tell me about one recipe that you tried that turned out really awful and what was it?
Stephanie: A few years ago, we introduced a blend called “boost.” In theory, it was a fantastic idea. It was sold as an “add-in” product to add extra nutrients to any juice. The blend was made of cabbage, garlic, ginger and onion. It packed a serious nutritional punch but it tasted (and smelled) pretty dang awful. The die-hard juicers loved it, but unfortunately it just didn’t work out in the long run!