Find Your Green Nirvana
Iowa is thirsty. With a high demand for their refreshing juices and smoothies, the Juice Company Café opened a second location in Ankeny earlier this year. The family-owned business has found major success at their original location on 42nd street in Des Moines, where they have juice-enthused regulars. The DSM café is small, with only a few tables and little counter space. An outdoor patio serves as a common spot for smoothie-sippers.
Upon walking inside, customers are enveloped in a fresh, fruity scent. Notes of orange and strawberry fill the air as smiling workers chop vegetables for juices. Healthy ingredients such as pineapples, flaxseed, and wheatgrass plants line the counters and shelves. The whirr of the blender evokes a thirst and stimulates taste buds — enough to wake anyone up as effectively as a cup of coffee.
“We needed to expand because we’ve been doing extremely well in business,” says Amanda Reeder, manager of the 42nd street location of The Juice Co. “We actually have a bunch of people who come all the way from West Des Moines because they’ve tried us once and keep coming back.”
Their most popular drink is the “Green Nirvana,” which contains wheatgrass, orange juice, pineapple, banana, low fat frozen yogurt, and honey. The company grows their own wheatgrass in-store so it’s fresh for their smoothies and juices. “We start them off as seeds, and it takes about 14 days until we can harvest them,” Reeder says. The golden ingredient contains 75 percent chlorophyll, which molecularly binds with toxins and flushes them out of the body. A shot of wheatgrass supposedly cures sickness.
“They help with hangovers, too,” says Claudia Williams, a Juice Company worker at the Des Moines location. “People who’ve had one too many shots at the bar can repair their bodies with another shot at the juice bar.”
Rumor has it that wheatgrass shots aren’t the tastiest, but they have found popularity amongst juice lovers for their incredible health benefits. All of the ingredients the Juice Co. uses are 100% natural — no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
“The Juice Company is a like healthy version of Jamba Juice,” says Mackenzie Woolwich, Drake University senior and self-proclaimed health nut. “Except it tastes way better.”
The company has earned a following for their hand-spun smoothies, including flavors like Pina Colada, Nutty Banana and Raspberry Pomegranate. With the weather cooling down, the DSM location has brought back a customer favorite: the pumpkin smoothie. Eight ounces of real pumpkin has earned this seasonal treat the nickname, “Thanksgiving in a cup.”
The Ankeny location boasts a bigger building, featuring in-store seating for about 20 people. The shop is larger, but the vibe is the same: the fresh smells, smiling faces, and a lively color scheme of green, orange, and yellow. And of course, shelves of wheatgrass plants line the walls.
“I like how they have so many different options — you can add extra protein for a meal replacement, or you can get dairy-free by substituting banana.” Woolwich says.
They also offer boosts such as “Flu Fighter,” “Energy,” and “Fat Burner,” with wholesome ingredients like green tea, chia seeds, and cayenne pepper. While the delicious drinks and fancy trimmings do attract a wide crowd, many people return because of the warm customer service.
“I know a bunch of people by their first name, and what they order,” Reeder says. The positive attitudes of The Juice Company’s employees play an integral role in helping Iowa residents find their “Green nirvana.”