Nekter Juice Bar is opening in downtown Laguna Beach next week and the store will be its first to offer organic options.
The Laguna location will open Tuesday at 272 Broadway St., the former Golden Spoon site, with a grand opening planned for Jan. 25. It will mark the 10th Nekter Juice Bar, which offers raw and vegan juices, smoothies, Acai bowls and cleanses made with local produce.
Owners and Newport Beach residents Steve and Alexis Schulze call their products "the people's juice."
"We want to make a great juice that's great for you, it tastes good and it's affordable," said Steve Schulze, inside the Laguna Beach location on Tuesday.
Irvine resident Stephanie Grady, who was at the Corona del Mar location on Wednesday to get a Toxin Flush juice, said having a juice for lunch is a better option that getting fast food or even a sandwich. She also sees juicing as an affordable option.
"I like the way the juice tastes, and I feel like it's healthy," said Grady, who added the snakeskin green drink in her hand doesn't look appetizing, but it is.
Newport Beach resident Tyler Wichelhaus also said he finds the juices delicious and drinks them as a meal. He said he thinks the prices are a bit high, but Nekter's customer service makes it the only juice bar he frequents.
"I love the product, and I love the place," he said of the Corona del Mar location.
The Schulzes opened their first juice bar in October 2010 in Costa Mesa, 474 E. 17th St., while the country was still struggling to pull out of the recession.
In only 16 months, Nekter has expanded to Corona del Mar, Newport Beach, Long Beach, Dana Point, Anaheim Hills, Santa Monica and Mission Viejo. The Laguna location is just one of four stores in the process of opening.
The Schulzes have plans to open 15 more locations in Orange County, Los Angeles and San Diego by the end of the year.
Steve Schulze said that "not in a million years" did he image Nekter would be so successful.
"We went from working most of the hours ourselves to now having close to 150 employees," he said.
Juicing, though, wasn't always a part of the Schulzes' life, at least for one of them.
Steve Schulze was introduced to the benefits of juicing by his wife, but he didn't jump right in.
Alexis Schulze, a teacher and passionate about nutrition, offered to buy him a juice at Mother's Market for six months before he finally agreed. Intimidated at the idea and thinking it would taste bad, he finally tried it and he was hooked and started juicing weekly, then five times a week and now, daily.
"It gave me energy, I'm more alert, I feel better," he said. "It sort of was a gateway to a healthier lifestyle."
The two used to get their juice from Mother's Market, but when they moved farther away from Mother's on 19th Street, they wanted to find a juice bar closer. So, they decided to open their own.
"We started in 2010 as just sort of a little side business in which our goal was really to help people feel better," Steve Schulze said.
He's seen people of all ages and all walks of life embrace their products. He sees high school students fill the Dana Point store after school for the Acai bowls and customers come in for a smoothie and work their way up to the juices and then cleanses.