“Anyone can make juice, we make juice for a reason.” That’s the tagline of a popular juice bar that just became one of the first Black-owned juiceries to operate a brick and mortar inside of Whole Foods.
Chris Goode started the business in 2014 to honor his late grandmother who died at 61 from Type 2 diabetes.
“Once I got in to juicing and health I realized that 61 was just way too young and [I]started to switch my lifestyle and press my family to do the same. In 2014 I decided to put all I had into my passion and new found purpose,” Goode told Because of Them We Can.
He opened the first juicery in July 2015 in Kansas City, Missouri. The flagship location exists in what was formally a food desert. According to Goode it was also the racial and socioeconomic redline of the city. Since they opened their doors the customers haven’t stopped coming.
“We’re the number one juicery in the state of Missouri and we’re named top 100 on Yelp in 2016 out of nearly 3 million businesses.”
The company’s success captured the attention of Whole Foods. But, instead of simply adding Ruby Jean’s cold pressed juices to their shelves, they offered Goode an opportunity to have a standing presence in one of their Kansas City stores. They officially cut the ribbon on their newest location inside Whole Foods last month.
“For us, that’s historic. That history is hard to quantify but it’s no less impactful,” he said.
While there are plenty of Black-owned vendors and suppliers who sell their products inside of Whole Foods, including Jive in Texas, Ruby Jean’s Juicery is the only we’ve identified this far with an actual store housed inside of the grocer.
Goode hopes the visibility will give him more opportunities to share exactly who Ruby Jean was and why her story matters.
“We truly feel we can empower people to live healthy by way of sharing my grandmas story. I feel there’s a Ruby Jean in every family no matter who you are.”
In addition to their new Whole Foods location, the juicery has two active Kansas City locations, one licensee in Springfield, MO and they’re currently working on launching a partnership in Atlanta. Ruby Jean’s Juicery was also an official partner of the U.S. Gymnastics Championship this year. They also offer healthy breakfast and lunch food options.
When asked how his grandmother might react to the news about the store in her honor and it’s success Goode said she’d be surprised, but proud.
“She grew up very poor and she likely would just be honored that something she never could’ve dreamt has happened.”