In the midst of a global pandemic might not be the best time to open a new business, unless your goal is to help provide a healthier lifestyle alternative for people and boost their immunity health.
That's the philosophy behind The Juice Joint which recently opened in Wilmington's Riverfront neighborhood.
Co-owners Lanice Wilson and Renee Sellers said the concept for The Juice Joint came out of a lunch meeting at a Riverfront restaurant during the winter of 2019.
"I was like - let's open up a juice bar," said Wilson, "and Renee said 'let's do it.' In five seconds we had the name, everything, during that lunch."
The women have been juicing themselves for a couple of years.
"Her [Lanice's] daughter introduced her to it," said Sellers. "Her daughter lives in California, she came back from California and introduced me to it and it went on from there."
Sellers said she suffers from complications of an auto-immune disease and the juicing has helped with inflammation and her energy levels.
The women had planned to open months ago but like a lot of businesses, Sellers said they were sidetracked by the coronavirus.
"Gratefully we decided to go ahead and open because we know juicing is good for health," said Sellers. "We thought we'd bring it to the community and they have embraced us fully."
"We definitely wanted to bring health to the community especially in this time of pandemic," said Sellers.
The Juice Joint offers pressed juices using what they call unique profiles.
"Some of our juices have rosewater and different ingredients that not found in a typical juice bar," said Sellers.
And Wilson said they use 'tons' of fruits and vegetables in their juices and smoothies.
"So there's spinach, there is sweet potato, oranges, beets, romaine lettuce, celery, cucumber, mint, all things to enhance your immune system," said the women.
The women are cognizant of the toll COVID-19 has taken on the African-American community but they want to promote healthy lifestyle alternatives for everyone.
"With Renee and I being black we definitely want to encourage our own community to take their health seriously and invest in self care," said Wilson.
"We're examples of that, that's whey we're here, that's why we are promoting The Juice Joint, but we're not specifically geared toward one community. We want everybody to focus on their health. We know juicing particularly can enhance that."
The pair planned on hiring two part-time employees to bolster themselves in running The Juice Joint but as a result of their successful debut they now have a staff of eleven including two full-time employees.
They were also perfectly positioned for this week's virtual Democratic National Convention at the Chase Center with a pair of staffers from a national television network stopping in while WDEL was on location.
In addition to human health, the pair are concerned about the planet too.
"Not only are we trying to provide healthy options in what we would consider a healthy food desert, we also are taking steps to reduce our carbon footprint," said Wilson.
"All of our cups and lids are biodegradable, they're made out of corn," said Wilson. "Our souffle cups that our dressings are in when you get a salad are made out of sugar cane. We use paper straws. We're very conscious."
They're also looking to partner with an organization or school that is interested in composting as the juicing creates a considerable amount of pulp.
The Juice Joint is located in the 3-hundred block of Justison Street across from Constitution Yards.