Erin Powell still has her day job in business development at Snagajob, but that hasn’t stopped her from opening her own business — Ginger Juice Co. The Roanoke native’s fresh juice spot launched yesterday, with food provided by Goatcado, and we curious about one of Richmond’s newest entrepreneurs.
How did you get into juicing?
I started juicing when my son went through a picky eating phase and wouldn't eat his veggies. My girlfriend went off to dance professionally in Seattle, Washington and has had a juice company there for the past five years. After doing the market research, I thought Richmond would be a great place to start a cold-pressed juice company. Last summer, I flew her out from Seattle to teach me how to use the juicer and come up with my initial recipes.
What led to you to making a business out of it?
I lost my husband 2 years ago — he and I always wanted to start a business, and after a lot of soul searching, I came to the conclusion that I needed to take the plunge and start the company. I decided to follow my heart and do what I love and am passionate about — making local, fresh, natural products that are convenient for busy people (like me)! The name of the company, Ginger Juice, is for our son's bright red hair. We have 14 juice recipes and two of them have ginger as an ingredient.
You were at local farmers markets with your product and now you're launching your own Ginger Juice storefront. How did you make the leap?
Once we tested the juices at the markets, we knew the Richmond community would embrace the product. We also have a website for online ordering and the majority of our customers were in the near West End. Our lease was up on our [original] commercial space and when we found the 500-square-foot space [at the Village Shopping Center], which isn't easy to find, it seemed like the perfect match. I then visited about two dozen juice bars across the country and wanted to find a partner to serve food in the space. I met Ian Newell, of Goatocado, at a farmers market and loved his passion and energy partnering with other local businesses. The combination of his food and our juice is a great match.
There are a lot of health claims surrounding freshly pressed juice. What do you think about them?
The health benefits of juicing are incredible! Our bodies crave fresh raw food and function better when we fuel it that way. Seven out of 10 adults and nine out of 10 children don't get their daily allotment of fruits and vegetables — juicing is a great way to increase that intake. My goal is to educate the Richmond community on the benefits of juicing and make it convenient to get the product. There is no silver bullet to improving your health — there's no substitute to diet and exercise.
Where do you source your fruits and vegetables?
We are proud to say that over 80 percent of our ingredients are sourced around the state. It's super important to us to keep it as local as we can.
I've tried a juice cleanse before — and it was hard. What's your advice to folks who'd really like to try it but aren't sure if they can do it?
We have lots of tips. Start with prepping your body — the same way you wouldn't jump right into running a marathon. Cut out processed foods, caffeine and alcohol a few days leading up to your cleanse. If you want, just start with a cleanse until dinner — four juices per day instead of six. Drink your juice and eat a raw food dinner. Anyone can do it with the right preparation!
And I hope this isn't a hard question — which one of your juices is your favorite?
Picking a favorite juice is harder than choosing my favorite child. Today we made a batch of Goodness — apple, kale, celery and mint— that was out of this world. Nothing like fresh, crisp apples from Agriberry! Amazing!