Editor’s note: Startland News selected the top Kansas City firms to spotlight for its annual Startups to Watch list. The following is one of 2018’s companies. To view the full, ranked list of Startups to Watch, click here.
This juice bar is about more than your next squeeze.
Ruby Jean’s Juicery embraces good health and fitness, but founder Chris Goode said the rapidly expanding startup also is about good vibes like unity, common peace and family. The juice bar consistently makes top ratings on Yelp for its relaxed settings, top-notch products and friendly customer service.
Made from fruit and vegetable juices, never from concentrate, Ruby Jean’s Juicery products are fresh, delicious and extremely nutritious, Goode said. From healthy bites like its avocado toast and fruit bowls, to dozens of hand-crafted juices, Ruby Jean’s offers plenty of room for variety, even for customers with dietary restrictions. The juicery also sells various cleanse packages for beginners and advanced juicers alike, so there’s something for everyone with a healthier lifestyle in mind, Goode said.
But while Goode prides himself on the juicery’s products, he finds the genuine culture and atmosphere of Ruby Jean’s Juicery to be the most notable part of his business, he said.
“Our country is divided right now; there’s so much tension between so many different groups, and when you walk into one of our locations, you don’t feel that. You don’t see it,” Goode said. “It’s just a melting pot of genuineness, just Kansas Citians that want to be healthy, and they’ve chosen our place to congregate together. It’s just always good vibes.”
Goode called 2017 an “aggressive” year, naming four new locations, most notably Ruby Jean’s Kitchen and Juicery on Troost Avenue, in what he called a “historically-known food desert.”
“It sits on an island. There’s not really much around it. So that was groundbreaking,” he said.
With locations across Kansas City and a couple more in other Midwest metros, the business is taking off with zero outside funding since Goode started in 2015, he said. Goode credits the juicery’s rapid growth to the grace of God and, of course, Kansas Citians’ support.
“It just speaks to how collectively powerful Kansas City is when we come together and get behind something,” he said.
The founder said he’s considering more expansion this year. The juicery’s Westport location is under construction and will include a kitchen with a full menu. A food truck will be seen around the KC metro area this spring, he said.
Goode also takes great pride in his company’s name, which comes from his late grandmother, who died at 61 of Type 2 diabetes. Ruby Jean raised her family on a soul food diet, which Goode said had led to her rapidly declining health. Inspired by his grandmother, he instilled her “sweet, meek, gentle spirit” into the company’s brand.
“Had my grandmother, the person probably I loved second most on this earth, had the knowledge of health and a desire to be healthy, she might still be here,” he said, adding that everyone, no matter their race or culture, has a grandmother.
Being healthy and fit isn’t for just one race or culture either, he said.