Kristi Andrew of Manna Juice Bar: 5 Things You Need To Run A Highly Successful Family Business

An Interview With Jason Hartman

Jason Hartman
Authority Magazine
Published in
10 min readFeb 10, 2022


Great communication — Regardless as to what is going on personally, good or bad, it’s important to be able to continue to communicate about the business not from an emotional place, but make decisions about what’s best for the business. It’s important to be able to receive praise from your partner, but constructive criticism as well, in an effort to improve the business.

As a part of our series about 5 Things You Need To Run A Highly Successful Family Business, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kristi Andrew.

Dr. Kristi Andrew was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana where she graduated from Xavier University of Louisiana with a Doctorate of Pharmacy in 2008. She then spent 12 additional years in the retail pharmacy industry, working various titles from pharmacy manager to Director of Pharmacy Operations. She is currently the owner-operator of Manna Juice Bar, an organic cold-pressed juice bar located in Mansfield, Texas, which is now three years old! She currently resides in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with her husband of 13 years, and two children ages seven and five.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

My husband and I were both on a journey to a healthier lifestyle. Being a pharmacist, I learned a lot of times the onset of certain disease states, could have been prevented with healthier diet and exercise. Juicing was something we began to incorporate into our diet once we moved from New Orleans to Dallas. It’s a really easy way to consume a massive amount of nutrients at once, with cold-pressed juicing being the most efficient process. We developed a passion for the industry, partnered with a food scientist, and begin to build Manna Juice Bar where the goal was to create juice, smoothies, and açaí bowls that were healthy without compromising taste!

Can you tell us a bit about your family business and your role in it?

Our aim for Manna Juice Bar was to be a pleasant introduction for juicing for any one interested in adding juicing to their lifestyle! We wanted to show that something good FOR you, could taste great as well. In addition to juice, we also serve smoothies, smoothie bowls, juice shots, overnight oats, as well as introducing vegan ice cream with our new company MYLKY! I’m currently the owner/operator of the business, so my day to day includes making sure the operations are in order, as well as capitalizing on new ventures, forming new partnerships, bringing in new products, as well as training and educating the staff.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began this career?

During our first six months in business, I was working the juice bar alone. All of a sudden about 6 guys walk-in, fresh in town for a Christian music concert. We began to talk about how one of my favorite artists was Lecrae. I checked them out one by one, and looked at the last guy’s credit card as I swiped it. It was Lecrae himself! He was really nice, took lots of pictures, posted us on his story, and he and his team almost bought the whole store!

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

We were working with a vendor for cleaning supplies, who couldn’t meet our delivery time. Playing hardball, we gave them an ultimatum to either be there within the hour, or they would lose our business. It was an impossible task for them at the time, so we immediately cancelled the account. Turns out, they were the only company in the DFW area who had access to the supplies we needed. We had to decide to either uninstall and reinstall all of our cleaning equipment with another company (costly) or re-activate the account a month later. We chose to reactivate the account, sheepishly. We learned that communication is the most important part of any partnership. Setting expectations from day one, and having a mutual understanding can save everyone a lot of issues. Also, consistency is not perfection. Learn to pivot when necessary and be flexible if need be.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

I think for us, we’re 100% committed to the quality of our product. Everything not only is fresh, but it tastes fresh as well. Reading our reviews, most of our customers are amazed at how good everything tastes, and it makes people want to come back for more! I read a review recently where a man who has tasted acai bowls everywhere from New York to LA to Dallas said that ours was the best by a mile. That never ceases to absolutely FLOOR me. We’re so grateful that people appreciate the time, energy, and effort it took to build this.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Yes! We’re currently in the process of launching MYLKY, vegan and dairy-free premium ice cream. It will be soft-serve in the store where you can add toppings and drizzles, but we will also be retailing pints as well, so when you have a sweet craving, you can reach for something with fewer calories and less fat than regular ice cream. Again, it tastes DELICIOUS. We will also be shipping pints nationwide!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

We partnered with a food scientist Louis Edmond to help create the recipes for Manna, and his aim was to make sure that not only everything was delectable, but that the nutritional content was there as well. He brought a level of food expertise to the business also in terms of serving, set-up, and created easy processes for us to follow. His passion is definitely part of the foundation our business was created on.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

We use our platform to advocate for causes that are important to us, but one of the main things we invest in are youth. We hire a lot of high school, and college students, and our aim is to not just teach them what to do, but why we do the things we do. We understand that they won’t spend their whole lives working at Manna Juice Bar, but we hope they take the skills and knowledge that we’ve taught them and translate it to their career or business or however they choose to implement it!

Ok thank you for that. Let’s now pivot to the main parts of our interview. How do you define a family business? How is a family business different from a regular business?

I would say a family business is where any number of family members are involved in the ownership, operation, or decision making process of a business. I think it’s different from a regular business, because the relationship extends past the business. So you’re bringing your family relationship to the business, and you’re bringing the business home to the family as well.

In your opinion or experience, what are the unique advantages that family owned businesses have?

The trust and commitment that we have for each other, far exceeds any I’ve had in any partner or coworker. You’re working with someone you know has not only the best interest of the business in mind, but the best interest of the family as well. We don’t have two different goals we are trying to accomplish, it’s one goal, which helps everyone stay focused on what is most important at the time.

What are some of the common mistakes you have seen family businesses make? What would you recommend to avoid those errors?

Many family-owned businesses have issues with work-life balance. We can get so sucked into bringing the business home, and talking about the business, that you forget there is anything else to talk about, or anything else enjoyable you can be doing. Don’t forget to continue to connect as family members outside of the business. If the relationship is failing, the business suffers from that as well.

What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders of family businesses to help their employees to thrive?

Take care of your team, and listen to your team. Your people are one of your greatest assets. If they’re not happy, healthy, or passionate about what they’re doing, the service will suffer, and the business will suffer as a result. As much as I know my business, and learning the industry, I’m not working in the store servicing customers the 12 hours per day that we’re open. Our employees are. They have valuable information about what works, what doesn’t, what customers like, and dislike. If they don’t feel like they’ll be heard, you won’t receive that information.

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean with a story or example?

Leadership to me is leading by example. As a business owner, it’s important for our employees to understand that I’m not asking them to do anything I wouldn’t do or haven’t done for the business. When I arrive at the juice bar, yes I inspect and delegate. But I also change toilet paper rolls, mop, wipe the counters, anything that needs to be done, I’m not above doing. It shows our employees what we pay attention to, and what we value, so they pay attention to and value it also.

Here is our main question. What are the “5 Things You Need To Run A Highly Successful Family Business”? Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Great communication — Regardless as to what is going on personally, good or bad, it’s important to be able to continue to communicate about the business not from an emotional place, but make decisions about what’s best for the business. It’s important to be able to receive praise from your partner, but constructive criticism as well, in an effort to improve the business.
  2. Boundaries/Balance — You can’t forget that before you were business owners, you had a relationship that still needs to be nurtured and watered consistently as well. All business all the time only magnifies any issues that do arise, both in the business and personal. It took us two years to build Manna, and the energy that it took was still nothing in comparison to what it took to run it initially. My husband and I looked up two years ago, and realized we hadn’t taken a vacation in four years, when traveling was our favorite thing to do. The business was flourishing, but we were tired, and grumpy, and had no energy for anything else. It was worse than when we were working traditional jobs. Relaxing and balancing just reinvigorates the passion we have for the business, and we appreciate that we don’t have to sacrifice everything we have to be able to do it.
  3. Evolution — It’s important to learn and grow and be ready to pivot when necessary. When we opened we had juices, smoothies, smoothie bowls, and shots. That was all. The type of customer we had, and the times of day they frequented, required that we added more items. We added avocado toast, we added more juice and smoothie flavors, vegan overnight oats, and now ice cream! Of course this increased sales, but it also solidified our brand as a one stop shop for all things healthy.
  4. Delegate Roles and Responsibilities — I think we’ve learned to respect what each person brings to the table. As a videographer and entrepreneur, Dominick is more of the visionary; he has really great ideas and keeps the bigger picture in mind. As a former pharmacy operations director, I’m more impactful on the day to day operations of the business, making sure a lot of the small details are covered. It’s easier to communicate and defer when necessary for us when we both have defined roles!
  5. Respecting each other’s perspectives — We often have differing points of view on many different aspects of the business, and both views are valuable, especially because we have different roles in the business. Communication is just the beginning because that gets the point across clearly. It’s one thing to understand each other, it’s another thing to agree. Compromise can’t always be the solution; sometimes one idea or method is just simply better than the other. Delving into the why, and the perspective of the other person, helps make decisions easier, and makes sure the business receives the best of both of you, operating as a true team!

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

One of my favorite sayings is “That’s a classy problem.” Running a business is not only hard work, but it’s a 24 hour commitment every day. I may not use all 24 hours on the business, but I have to be available if needed. If someone calls in at 5am, we may need to get up and start juicing by 5:30am. If the alarm goes off at midnight, we have to be available to address this. Produce is late? We may be running to the store for bananas at noon. And you never know this is going to happen until it HAPPENS. But, all in all, this isn’t something we have to do, this is something we GET to do, and every one doesn’t have the opportunity to own their own business. So even these inconveniences are a result of the blessing that this actually is. We try to keep that in the forefront of our minds, especially when it’s difficult.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)

Definitely Carla Harris of Morgan Stanley. I heard her speak at an event in Dallas many years ago, and I truly admire her rise to the top, her grit and tenacity to advance in her career.

How can our readers further follow your work online? @mannajuicebar @kristilovesmanna

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.