A bell above the door at 326 East Main Ave, rings continuously as customers rush in and out. They are greeted by the aroma of fresh squeezed orange juice and a friendly “Hello”.
Emma Napier, the 24-year-old owner of Bowling Green’s only juicery, Zest! Juice for Life, spends most of her days pushing fruits and vegetables through a juicer. Zest! offers health conscious people a wide variety of delicious, cold-pressed juice and its popularity is apparent as Emma would stop her task to help a customer, and then go right back to her work.
Zest! was founded in 2013 by Natalie Boddeker. She had participated in a juice cleanse and enjoyed the benefits it provided. She began holding workshops but soon discovered people wanted to “buy” not “make.” So Natalie set up shop at the Community Farmers Market and her side business exploded to a full-time gig. After a couple years she needed a space to sell the popular juice daily and opened the storefront on East Main Ave in December of 2015.
After two successful years, Natalie decided to focus her attention on another business opportunity. Emma was familiar with the juice Natalie provided. Emma teaches spin class at The Spot, and would pick up juice after her workouts. As an escape from the corporate grind, she bought Zest! in June 2018 at the urging of her family and friends. At first she was working full-time as a graphic designer, then spending the night juicing produce to fill the coolers downtown. Emma praises her mom and her commitment to helping her run the shop during the transition. “Her help was essential to my success and sanity early on.”
Emma immediately went to work making the shop her own. She rented the studio space next door, busted down walls and moved the full operation on site, cutting her juicing and transportation time in half.
She eventually left her corporate job to focus on Zest! full-time, developing recipes and daydreaming about future products she can offer. “I’m working on perfecting my smoothie recipes; that’s the next step. I would also love to be able to offer customers juice by the glass. But one step at a time.”
But small business ownership did not come without its hiccups. Emma jokes she “learned everything on the fly” but says the biggest hurdle was learning to manage people.
Emma is most excited to continue Zest! because of the health benefits fruits and vegetables can offer to everyone.
So why juice?
Juicing helps you easily absorb all available nutrients from fruits and vegetables, helping your joints and skin.
It is easier to drink more fruits and vegetables than you can eat. Each of Zest!’s juices contains 3-4 pounds of produce.
Raw foods are better than cooked or processed foods because they contain active enzymes, which spares your body from using your enzymes, thus allowing for more energy and resistance.
Juicing is great for detoxification, which results in glowing skin, shining hair, fresh breath, efficient digestive tract, fewer colds and flu, and healthy gums and teeth.
Studies suggest that diets high in fruit and vegetables may prevent and even cure innumerable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
A diet of fruits and vegetables can recharge your digestive system and eliminate bloat.
Emma suggests Midnight Elixir, her number one selling juice. It contains apples, lemons, ginger and activated charcoal. The charcoal is great for detoxing and is delicious.
Zest! also offers a variety of almond milks, natural immune boosting “shots,” grab-and-go meals, natural nut butters and other healthy choice snacks.