By Emily Balser, Point Park News Service:
After a year of planning and building renovation, The Pittsburgh Juice Company is open for business.
The juice bar, located at 3418 Penn Ave., opened in February by sibling owners Zeb and Naomi Homison. Business has been going well, especially with a late-winter opening, Naomi Homison said.
“The Lawrenceville community is fantastic with just people talking about us within the community,” she said. “It’s sort of a small-town vibe within a big city.”
Zeb Homison also owns Bikram Yoga Pittsburgh, a hot yoga studio just next door to the juice bar. The two siblings always had plans to add a juice bar next to the studio, but spent time researching the best business model.
“We spent a lot of time in New York City last year, visiting juice bars there,” Naomi Homison said. “And through his connections in the international yoga community, we have a lot of information available to us on what works well.”
The interest in juicing carries over from the duo’s personal nutrition. Naomi Homison said they both make juicing a large part of their own diets and were looking for a way to provide a healthy alternative for people on the go.
“We are believers in the health benefits of juicing and the way it makes us feel,” she said. “We’re filling that niche where we’re creating a grab-and-go snack, a grab-and-go juice, that’s still super fresh and really good for you.”
Thea Martin, 49, who works near the juice bar, has been there several times since it opened and said she has been impressed with the product.
“I think it’s fabulous,” Martin said. “I’ve never felt better.”
Martin said drinking the juices every day has given her more energy. Her favorite juice so far is the berry watermelon. She brought along a friend to try them out too.
“I was a little hesitant at first,” said Constantine Palrouras, 47, of Mt. Lebanon.
After trying the product, Palrouras said he will be back for more and is looking forward to the next time when he will try out something different.
“It was outstanding,” he said.
Naomi Homison said if they hadn’t opened the business themselves, they would have been looking for somewhere similar to be customers. She said this type of model with the yoga studio and juice bar together has worked in other cities, and it was time for Pittsburgh to join in.
“This is something that we wanted for ourselves as well, and in the process, we built a business,” she said.
The juice bar offers four juices, coconut water and almond milk. All items are made with a cold-press juicer daily. Naomi Homison said that the benefit of a cold-press juicer is that it is able to preserve the enzymes and nutrients of the juice for a longer period of time because there are no blades involved in the juicing process and no heat involved in the bottling process. All of the juices have a shelf life of three days and are raw, vegan and gluten-free.
“We’re not really focusing on making sweet drinks,” she said. “We’re focusing on making really quality products that are high in nutrients and good for your body.”