Dallas Morning News
Dallas entrepreneurs Davio and Jessica Ventouras see growth potential in North Texas’ juicing market.
In the aftermath of superstorm Sandy, the couple moved from New York to Dallas and opened a juice bar in the Dallas Farmers Market in October. The couple sells an extensive line of fresh-pressed juices and foods that are made at their juice bar, Boom Juice.
“In New York City, we lived in the epicenter of the juicing industry,” said Davio Ventouras, a former commodities trader and Dallas native. “We decided to get into this business because my wife has celiac disease, and these organic foods are great for her.”
In the last year, other Dallas entrepreneurs have joined the juicing boom as interest in healthy living grows. Some have opened juice bars, while other entrepreneurs produce and sell their own line of fresh juices in large grocery chains such as Whole Foods.
While juicing advocates talk up its health benefits, some analysts question whether juicing is a fad or a sustainable business. Fresh-pressed juices can cost up to $12, a high price for some consumers.
Juicing has become popular among health-conscious consumers and those who want to try new things. While some buy their own electric juicers, others have turned to juice bars to increase their intake of fruits and vegetables.
Most of the juices are cold-pressed, which means the fruit and vegetable juice is hydraulically extracted and the fiber is removed. Cold-press juicers use minimal air and heat. The juice is fresh for approximately three days.
Cold-pressed juices are packed with organic fruits and vegetables and are designed to provide extreme health benefits. The average cold-pressed juice contains about 4 pounds of fresh produce.
Juicing is nothing new.
Mary Chapman, director of product innovation at Chicago-based restaurant research firm Technomic, pointed to Jamba Juice, which opened as Juice Club in 1990.
Because the juicing industry is evolving, it’s hard to determine whether fresh-pressed juice will still be popular a few years from now, Chapman said.
“Juicing is easy to do, and it’s harder to maintain a signature item,” she said. “If a larger restaurant decided to start selling their own juice, why would someone need to go to a juice bar?”
Still, juicing aligns with current consumer trends, she said.
“For those who are looking for something healthy or to suit a healthy lifestyle, juices let you get in your fruits and veggies and easily add nutritional supplements,” Chapman said.
Although Boom Juice has been in business only six months, the Ventourases say they hope to open more storefronts in the near future.
They invested $50,000 of their own money and solicited $50,000 from friends, family and investors.
“Due to the existing infrastructure in the Farmers Market, we have been able to get this location going for just under $100,000 in startup capital,” said Davio Ventouras, who employs 11 workers.
Ventouras said the company began seeing an operating profit in January. He said sales are steadily increasing.
Depending on seasonal availability, most of their 16-ounce juices retail for $8 to $11. Customers can also purchase a three- or five-day juice cleanse.
Jessica Ventouras, a former personal chef and trainer, devised Boom Juice’s food and juice recipes.
Although the price for fresh-pressed juice is on the high side, Chapman said, it is not a deterrent for some customers.
“Those who are more affluent tend to care more about health and wellness,” she said.
The Ventourases aren’t the only Dallas startup trying to corner the juicing market.
In February, Juicing company Vim + Vigor began selling its line of juices at eight Whole Foods stores and other shops in the Dallas area.
Cousins Annie Portman Stull and Elizabeth Portman Black launched the business after then-New Yorker Black could not find a juice bar in Dallas.
They had thought about going into business together and figured that introducing their own line of organic, cold-pressed juices would be a great start. The two began shipping 12 flavors of juices and customized juice cleanses nationwide through their website in January 2013.
Vim + Vigor is the only USDA organic-certified juice brand in Texas, the cousins said. Six varieties of Vim + Vigor juice are sold for $6.99.
Vim + Vigor’s juices undergo high-pressure pascalization, a purification method in which electrostatic pressure is pulsed through cold water. The process helps naturally extend the juice’s shelf life without heat or additives. Before the bottle is opened, Vim + Vigor juices have a shelf life of approximately 30 days.
Vim + Vigor has a facility in Addison, where employees juice and bottle. The final product is transported the same day by refrigerated truck to a pascalization plant in Coppell.
Besides startups, more established brands such as Austin-based Daily Juice are bringing their products to Dallas.
With two Austin locations, Daily Juice will be opening a store in Oak Lawn in about six weeks.
Daily Juice CEO John Martin said the company also plans to open a Houston storefront soon and eventually wants to expand the brand to both coasts.
“I believe the public is becoming more aware about the benefits of juicing and enjoy the fact that they can be in and out of the store within a couple of minutes,” Martin said.
With more and more juicing options coming to Dallas, Davio Ventouras said, there is room for numerous juicing brands.
He sees the increasing competition as a sign that a large segment of the Dallas population appreciates fresh juice.
Ventouras believes juice bars will see exponential growth in a few years as Starbucks did.
“It’s a revolution,” he said.
Follow Arselia Gales on Twitter at @ArseliaGales.
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