Food & Drink

Has the health food craze hit State College? Salúd Juicery sees success

Manager of Salud Juicery Nick Bizousky hands a Green Anna Smoothie to a customer at the State College location on Fraser Street on Monday, July 30, 2018.
Manager of Salud Juicery Nick Bizousky hands a Green Anna Smoothie to a customer at the State College location on Fraser Street on Monday, July 30, 2018. adrey@centredaily.com

When Salúd Juicery proprietor Rodney Grettler was looking to expand the brand beyond its Pittsburgh roots, State College seemed like the perfect place. With family ties to Penn State, Grettler was already familiar with the area and knew the brand could uniquely serve the demographic — students and locals alike.

Grettler originally came across the idea of opening a juicery in Pennsylvania after learning about a similar successful brand in Boulder, Colorado. As he saw the trends changing, he knew the health craze in the western portion of the United States would eventually move East.

“I think people are looking for healthy alternatives ... I think people are starting to read labels more and are more conscious of what they’re eating,” he said.

Rather than open a franchise of the Colorado juicery in Pennsylvania, Grettler discovered the already-established Salúd Juicery in Pittsburgh, approached the CEO, Ginny Corbett, and started expanding the brand with new locations of his own. That eventually brought him to the prior Fraser Street Deli location about two months ago.

Grettler’s hunch about State College was right, as Salúd Juicery is already seeing success — so much so that Grettler is even looking at opening another location in the area. The next shop would be outside of downtown and more catered to locals, with easy parking and potentially an expanded menu.

While Grettler said he’s targeting the university students and professionals working downtown, he’s not necessarily looking to attract the “health nuts” among us.

“It’s not all about the people who are already healthy,” he said. “There are a lot of people out there who need what we have ... (and) a lot can be done to supplement health issues with what you eat.”

He and his staff are passionate about bringing the average person a little bit closer to optimal health with their nutrition-rich alternatives.

Since opening, the staff has found education to be a key component of their business model. As juices and smoothies aren’t the only items on the menu, some customers need an introduction to bowls and medicinal shots. According to Grettler, once customers get a taste of the new offerings, they continuously return for more. This can be seen, for example, in the popularity of the juicery’s acai bowls and wheatgrass shots.

“State College really likes the juice market, but they’ve also really come to like our acai bowls, once people understand what they are,” he said. “We do a lot of medicinal shots, too, like wheatgrass. People don’t understand how nutritious a shot of wheatgrass is. We (provided) wheatgrass cards to explain how nutritious it is. A shot of wheatgrass is 2.5 pounds of roughage. We put these cards out and sold out. We grow all our own wheatgrass and now we’re buying a hydroponic system, (so) we can grow up to 400 pounds a week.”

Other items on the menu include nitro coffee and detox products and new offerings may be showing up soon as well, with the staff becoming inventive with an inherited frozen yogurt machine.

“I bought out a yogurt shop and inherited five yogurt machines, so our staff started experimenting with running juices through the yogurt machine,” Grettler said. “We’re completely dairy- and sugar-free, but we’ve come up with some awesome frozen juices that taste just like ice cream. We’re still playing around with it, but we call them ‘chillers’ and give out samples and people love the stuff. It tastes like ice cream, but it’s 100 percent juice.”

Beyond the wheatgrass shots and acai bowls, Grettler says the top thing customers learn when they come into the juicery is simply that “health and freshness take time. It’s not like pouring a cup of coffee. We have to blend everything and do it properly so you get the best product we can produce.”

He notes that the staff puts a lot of hard work into their products, because, at the end of the day, “our goal is to make people more healthy. It’s not always about how much money you make — we get a lot of personal satisfaction ... out of seeing (our customers) eat healthy.”

Salud Juicery is open 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. For more information, visit www.saludjuicery.com/statecollege.

Holly Riddle is a freelance food, travel and lifestyle writer. She can be reached at holly.ridd@gmail.com.
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