Toya & Earnest White are the owners of Clean Juice Northlake and the recently opened Clean Juice Matthews Franchises. We spent some time talking with Toya and discovered how her search for personal health and love for cashew milk led her into an amazing career where she is very passionate about giving back and being a part of the Charlotte regions effort to #LIVEFITCLT.
Q: So just, kind of want to know a little bit about how you got into the business?
A: So with Clean Juice, I actually started drinking the product first. I was… Well, in 2013 I just really started taking my health more serious. So I was more in tune with what I was putting in my body, reading labels, and just realizing that I was putting a lot of garbage in my body.
So once I started being more in tune with that — I started juicing; I started doing smoothies, and stuff like that — so I was using this company that they sold in Whole Foods, called Blueprint. They had cold purchases in there, and they had a good cashew milk that I liked.
Then without warning, they stopped selling the cashew milk. So I was — oh my gosh, what am I going to do?
So one day I was just on my break at work. I used to work over off Johnson Road and I was just riding around trying to find something to eat and I walked into Clean Juice. When I went in there, I seen they had cashew milk; I tried it; it was awesome. That is what got me hooked, and then I started trying their other products. And I just got hooked on their products initially.
[My Favorite juice] is called “The White” it’s cashew milk, and it tastes like the milk that’s left over after you have some Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. So it’s just so awesome. I was buying in a six-pack at one time.
Q: So tell me a little bit about your background?
A: I am actually from New York, but I was raised in Columbia, South Carolina. So about… Being in junior high, my mom moved us down to Columbia, and I graduated from high school there. Then I moved to Virginia where I met my husband. And then from Virginia we moved here to Charlotte.
My husband and I also have a trucking business. So he’s really the head behind the trucking business, and I’m really the head behind this [Clean Juice]. But we tag-team it of course, and just jump in wherever we can, whenever it’s needed for the most part. But we both are into it for sure.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your super power.
A: I would say mine is probably being like the Energizer Bunny. Like, no matter how tired I get, I know I still got to get out there and do what needs to be done. So it’s just, no days off, really. No days off.
I feel like I am conditioned for that, because, my previous job, I worked overseas and we worked seven days a week, 12 hour shifts, for like, four months at a time. I did that for, on and off, about ten years.
So I’m definitely built for the no days off. But I just know, once I get everything completed, when I go on a vacation, I can really vacay.
Q: So how has Clean Juice helped you connect with the community?
A: It has helped me connect with the community by being proud of offering something that I know is good and healthy for the people, I know it is not garbage.
What you see on our menu is what’s in there. We’re not putting any sugars in there; we’re not putting any chemicals and stuff that you cannot pronounce. So just knowing that when someone comes in here from the community, what we’re serving is giving them something good for their body. When you’re putting stuff in your body, you’re either fighting the disease or you’re either helping it. So I know that we’re helping them fight it for sure.
Q: What type of people benefit the most? Coming in and trying the product?
A: Most people… It’s really a lifestyle. So when people come in here, for the most part, they already know… They’ve already juiced before, so they know how labor intensive it is; they have already done the green smoothies so they know what the taste is. So they kind of already know. They’re coming in here for us, for the convenience.
Because if you’ve ever juiced before, you know the cleanup is a mess. For that eight ounces of juice that you get, the cleanup is insane.
So it’s just one of those things. The customers that go to yoga, that go to Pilates, or that are gym fanatics, and are really disciplined about what they’re putting in their bodies, are kind of like our customer for the most part. They come to us for the convenience.
Q: The people who come very often, is there any type of rewards program?
A: Well, for our frequent customers, we have what we call a VIP key chain that we give them and basically, they get to come in the first Monday of every month, and they get some type of free product; whatever we’re offering at that time.
Q: Can you tell me a little bit about the ambassador program?
A: We have what we call a “juice booster” program, and basically, it is like a mutual agreement, a relationship between the store and for designated people that are either into health and wellness, have a large social media presence, and just kind of out there promoting our products and promoting our store.
Q: What are your goals and visions for your Franchises?
A: My goal is to be a destination spot. So how people just like, go in Starbucks, and kind of set up and kind of have working lunches and stuff like that. That’s definitely what I want to be, but just from a healthier aspect.
I definitely want to get involved in giving back. Whether it be with a church, whether it be with a non-profit, something that we can show that we care about the community, by either donating — whatever it is. Juices, or whatever — I really want to put people on to just clean eating and what that looks like. A lot of people think that [with] clean eating, everything gets nasty or just does not tasting good. But that’s not true.
Q: Do you provide catering services? How about or sampling?
A: Yes we do catering. We actually just started that service. We come out and set everything up to where people can make their own Acai bowls with all of the toppings and stuff like that. Cold-pressed juices, we would bring as well. The only thing we couldn’t do on-site would probably be the smoothies. But the cold-pressed juices and Acai bowls, we definitely like to cater any event with those two.
We know a lot of people are looking at more healthy alternatives for catering, so we’re definitely trying to tap into that market. And just getting people to know that — you don’t always have to have meat or Chick-Fil-A for your meal.
We do a lot of sampling also. Anybody that really calls us to do a sampling, we come out. But we like to hit the new gyms, or the new health and fitness places, or the new yoga bars, or places like that that we kind of share the customer — we like to go to those places. But we will go anywhere if someone wants us to come to do a sample.
We would rather give people a taste first to kind of see what you like. Not everything is for everybody, but at least if you get a taste, you can kind of know what you want before you come in [to the store] and spend your hard-earned money on something that you might not really care for.
Q: Is there anything else that you want to mention?
A: Our re grand opening for Clean Juice Northlake— is Saturday May 12th from 8am-8pm.
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