John Maness admits he was an unlikely preacher of the benefits of drinking juice – all he has to do is point to his initial conversation with his wife Jen about hello juice and smoothies (multiple locations including 1000 South Newstead Avenue, 314-376-4135) to bring this point home.
“When we had our initial conversation about it, I was sitting outside smoking a cigarette, and Jen came out and said, ‘Hey, we need to meet these people about buying a juice bar,’” John recalls. “I said, ‘Are you crazy? What do we know about juice? But it immediately became apparent that upon walking in and seeing the product being made, it was something important. I started coming in, learning all their processes, and I went from supporting Jen to falling in love with it. It changed my life. dramatically”.
Since partnering with Hello Juice just a few months after it was founded in 2018, Manesses has made it their mission to make their cold-pressed juices, smoothies, smoothie bowls and breakfasts accessible to people from all walks of life, not just healthy food. . enthusiasts. For John in particular, this business model resonates personally because of his own health concerns. After many years of hard living, John found himself in a critical condition, literally dying of liver failure, and he needed a major lifestyle change if he wanted to do that.
“My doctors gave me a week to live. I had no choice but to change,” says John.
It was 2012 and John has been sober ever since — one of the many things that bonded him and Jen when they met a year later (Jen has been sober since she was 20). The couple also bonded through their entrepreneurial spirit and got into home renovations and real estate shortly after meeting. They had a successful experience, and Jen even owned a brokerage firm for two years. However, her insatiable drive to find new business ventures took them in a direction they didn’t expect.
“I’m always coming up with these crazy business ideas and John is the one to tell me when something is probably not a good idea,” Jen says. “But I heard about Hello Juice and met [co-founder] Jordan [Bauer] They opened on weekends in August 2018. At the time, I was thinking about opening a bar or something, but fast forward a few months and Jordan and his wife Kayla were interested in us becoming partners.”
As Jen and John explain, they were excited to partner with Hello Juice founders Jordan and Kayla Bauer because they were impressed with both their product and their creativity. While there were other smoothie and juice brands on the market, Hello Juice felt different due to its commitment to using only fresh ingredients rather than the pre-made mixes and purees used by national chains. When they became partners, Jen and John quickly realized how laborious this way of doing things was and enthusiastically set about learning everything they could about how to make the very best juices and smoothies they had to offer.
The experience paid off when Jen and John bought out the Bauers in 2019 and became the sole owners of Hello Juice. Since then, they have dedicated themselves wholeheartedly to creating a vibrant, welcoming environment that will appeal to everyone, not just those who already lead a healthy lifestyle.
“We don’t want to sell healthy food to people who are already buying healthy food,” John says. “For me, it’s for everyone—builders like me who have never eaten vegetables, little kids, everyone. We don’t want this to be pretentious. It’s for everyone, not just those who lead a crazy healthy lifestyle. They already know about us, we want to figure out how to connect with others.”
In addition to their first location in the Grove, the Manesses opened a second location in Kirkwood this spring and are seeing where things will go. While they have no plans to expand nationally, they would like to eventually open four or five Hello Juice stores in the St. Louis area so they can reach even more people and dispel the myth that you have to be a certain type of person in order to enjoy. their brand.
“Over the years, I kind of reinvented myself and who I am and what I do,” says John. “I just discovered that when I go to Hello [Juice} and it was just so bright — between the food and the employees the space. I know this sounds cheesy, but I’d be lifted up by being there. Life is short; why wouldn’t I want to live in this? It’s not about us making money. It’s a lifestyle.”
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