2016 is looming. That means pledges to quit bad habits or start good habits for many.
For Michael Bonebrake, it means going into business for himself as a means to help people eat healthier.
Fresh Juice Me is scheduled to open in late January at 1825 Leslie Road in the shopping center at the intersection of Leslie and Gage Boulevard.
Bonebrake, a 33-year-old Navy veteran, moved to the Tri-Cities about a decade ago to work at Hanford after serving as a submarine nuclear engineer. He likes the area and, having moved around a lot as a child in a Navy family, wanted to settle down.
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But he also wanted to work for himself, and his observations and comments from others indicated a dearth of options when it came to getting a freshly made vegetable or fruit juice, or a smoothie.
“A lot of co-workers had told me they wanted a place that was local and easy to get to,” Bonebrake said.
Juicing has been a regular part of Bonebrake’s life for a while. He makes his own at home as part of his own health and nutrition regimen.
While there are some juice and smoothie offerings in the Tri-Cities, he said they generally lack organic ingredients or customization, and that will be his niche. His shop also will use a masticating juicer rather than the standard juicers that rely more on centrifugal force.
“There’s more nutritional value because there’s less oxidation,” Bonebrake explained.
He plans to make the business as green as possible, using biodegradable cups and straws, and even gloves and other prep tools. Affordability is also key. Bonebrake wants to offer juices and smoothies for just under $7 for 16 ounces, about the average price nationally.
Others also are getting in on the juice market.
National chain Jamba Juice is expected to open a franchise in the coming weeks in the Queensgate shopping district, and El Rey Fruta Rayada, a fresh fruit and juice bar, recently opened at the food court in Columbia Center mall.
Bonebrake said he’s aware of the increased competition, but he’s not concerned.
“With all the feedback, I still think I’ll do well,” he said.