Just a bit north from downtown on Broadway at Glenwood Avenue, somewhere near the convergence of the Old North and Fourth and Gill neighborhoods, a collection of cool spots has started to aggregate. I’ve written about several over the years. A couple of years ago I wrote about Kickstand, a group providing bikes to those who need them. They are located just behind Fourth United Presbyterian Church on one corner of the intersection. Just a bit after that I wrote about Greenlee’s Bike Shop holding down another corner.
Unfortunately, I missed the opening when K-Brew started operation on a third corner of that intersection, though I wrote about the opening of their second location and their recent move just down the street. It’s their former building that seems to be hopping. Within the last couple of weeks Will Sims (no relation) and Mohammed (Mark) Fawaz have opened The Juice Box, an organic, fresh fruit and vegetable juicery at 1324 N. Broadway.
Not a franchise, the business is simply the fruition of a desire by the partners to bring something fresh, different and healthy to the area. Will, originally from Atlanta, grew up in Knoxville, and attended UT, earning a degree in microbiology. After graduation he debated about pharmacy school and sold real estate He met and became friends with Mark who is Lebanese, though he grew up in Nigeria. Mark moved to Knoxville sixteen years ago to attend UT, obtaining a degree in chemical engineering. After school he stayed in Knoxville and started and sold several businesses.
As the two considered opening a business together they traveled across the country to look at other juiceries, learning about the business as they went. They loved seeing how others were operating and how lives were being changed by use of the healthy products. And they see the developing loyalty in their new store with about 70% of the customers each day returning from previous visits.
Their process is a little different from some companies providing juices. It starts with all organic (some certified, some verified by the partners) vegetables and fruits and locally produced honey. They currently do business with Granny’s Garden Goods and Clay Halo Farm (located at the Botanical Gardens) and hope to contract with Abbey Fields. They also make their own organic peanut and almond butter as well as almond milk. Their juices are cold-pressed, meaning that very little of the nutritional value is lost to process-related heating. I’m told as much as 2 1/2 pounds of vegetables can go into one bottle of juice.
The process includes very slowly grinding up the fresh vegetables, then using a hydraulic press to extract the juice and about 95% of the nutrients. The pulp is completely extracted, leaving nothing for the body to digest, but rather only to absorb. Nothing is added to the juice – no preservatives, sugar, filler or water. Each batch takes about an hour and produces roughly twenty bottles and the bottles are labeled with drawings of the fruits and vegetables as a list of ingredients.
While juices are the core business, the store offers other options. Wellness shots, smoothies (also only containing the core ingredients), cleanses, essential oils, a cold coffee drink (made with locally roasted beans from the Artistic Bean in Townsend) and Acai bowls are also available. The bowls, which you can see pictured here, contain all organic blended fruits and vegetables with whole fruit and granola on top. It looked delicious.
This is the second location, with the first opening about ten months ago in Alcoa. While they may look to expand to further locations, for now, they want to get to know the neighborhood and are looking forward to building on the good initial response they’ve gotten. Will said they love areas which are walkable and bikeable and they are proud to be locally owned and the first cold-pressed juicery in the area.
Prices range from just a bit below to up around $10 and most of what I saw looked like a meal. Smoothies run from $7.50 to $11.00 and provide a large amount of the daily recommended vitamins and nutrients. Juices range from about 40 calories up to around 200 calories, so they are a great way to shed a few winter pounds.
The space is warm and inviting (love the world map and sliding barn door), with comfortable chairs and wi-fi. Hours are 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM during the week, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Saturday and from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Sunday. You’ll find their full menu on their website and you can follow them on their Facebook Page.