By CHRIS ALDRIDGE, Kentucky Proud Connection
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kimmye Bohannon and her neighbor/friend used to take turns making juice for one another.
"It was so nice when I didn't have to make it because it takes a ton of produce and makes a huge mess," Bohannon said. "When she delivered it to me, it was a great experience. I thought, 'How can I make this available for a broader audience?'"
That was the genesis of The Weekly Juicery, a Kentucky Proud fresh juice bar located at 436 Old Vine St. in Lexington. Bohannon hopes to open a second location in Louisville on March 1.
The Weekly Juicery makes cold-pressed juices, wheatgrass shots, and specialty smoothies. It sells subscriptions to have blends of juices delivered to the subscribers' homes or offices. All of its products are purposely unpasteurized with no preservatives or additives for optimal nutrition.
The Kentucky Agricultural Development Board approved The Weekly Juicery for $310,000 in state funds, a $235,000 loan and a $75,000 grant, in December. The money will be used to renovate a centralized kitchen and distribution facility, likely to be located in Louisville, for its juice and raw foods production. A portion of the funding will be used to renovate its Louisville retail store.
"The central kitchen will allow us to cold press juice in a temperature-controlled environment," Bohannon said. "That will allow us to use more Kentucky produce."
With the state currently between growing seasons, The Weekly Juicery contracts with a company that delivers produce on the hour in a refrigerated truck. The central kitchen will include 2,000 feet of cold storage.
"We'll be able to take delivery from Kentucky farmers on a weekly basis," Bohannon said. "We can't use Kentucky produce without enough cold storage space."
The Weekly Juicery, which uses $4,100 per week in fresh produce, has a contract with Growing Warriors, a Kentucky Proud group of farmer/veterans based in Mt. Vernon. It provides The Weekly Juicery with beets, kale, and romaine lettuce during the growing season.
The Weekly Juicery will get carrots and cucumbers from Taylor and Zach Jones of Jones Brothers Farms, a Kentucky Proud member in Warsaw. With a second retail juice bar opening and three more planned, The Weekly Juicery hopes to bring more Kentucky farmers on board in the future.
"Eventually, we would like to have two stores in Louisville, two in Lexington, and one in Cincinnati," Bohannon said. "All of the juice for the stores can be supplied by our central kitchen."
Bohannon, a Kentucky native who grew up in Simpson County, worked in the financial services industry for J.P. Morgan in Lexington for 14 years before she started The Weekly Juicery.
Bohannon is looking forward to enjoying the full benefits of being a Kentucky Proud member this year.
"We'll get [a Restaurant Rewards grant] back on our produce, so that will obviously be helpful," she said. "It will make a huge difference to us, being able to get that money back."
Ben Shaffar, director of business development for Kentucky Proud, said The Weekly Juicery will use a promotional grant to help defray the costs of packaging and labeling.
For more information, go to www.theweeklyjuicery.com and add your email address to its mailing list. The Weekly Juicery's new website was under construction when this was written.