Juice bars have come to Chattanooga, and Chattanoogans couldn’t be more hype to get healthy.
Chatt’s two main local juice bars are Southern Sqweeze, a southern take on the movement with locations on MLK and the Northshore, and The Local, located on main. Both arrived around 2 to 3 years ago and have a reportedly steady flow of business consisting of regular customers and the occasional curious hipster or yogi looking to really get into the raw-vegan movement.
Southern Sqweeze’s regulars consist mostly of “upper-class, middle-aged women,” as generalized by Covenant-alumni Kelly Lewis, a manager for the past year-and-a-half at the Sqweeze. She says that the consistency in this demographic is most likely due to their heavy focus on social status and activity, which comes off in fitness, diet, and health. These women usually know each other and coming to get juice at this establishment serves as a sort of daily social event, usually followed by a hardcore yoga class.
Lewis says that around two years ago there was a sudden boom in popularity. We can attribute this to a rise in knowledge about the health benefits of juicing and cleansing that came about only recently in Chattanooga. According to Kara Kinnebrew, a Southern Sqweeze employee and health coach, a lot of the regulars are those who have moved from more health conscious areas like California or New York City where the juice craze has long been in the mainstream.
The Local is more heavily trafficked by those on their way to work due to its more convenient location. It opened about a year after Southern Sqweeze and holds to many of the same principles and philosophies; however, its prices are slightly lower and it provides a wider variety of juices.
The worry about this fad is that it seems to be stuck pretty firmly in one demographic--the upper class. Unfortunately, due to the use of fresh, organic produce in the products combined with the use of manual labor required to make each juice, it does not seem likely that prices will be reduced, which would afford a wider clientele.
So how long can this “fad” really stay around in an area so pervaded by poverty? Can it survive with the support of only one demographic?
Lewis suggests that this fad will keep pressing on. In part, this is due to the fact that people have a firm grasp on its benefits, not only to their bodies but also to the local economy and community.
I personally agree with Lewis. As someone who has worked closely with juice and has seen the benefits of it, I think that it can continue on. Juice can be used to heal—I talked to one customer who had attempted a 28 day cleanse in order to try to help with her diabetes. I think that with juice we can see the benefits of God’s creation.
We are called to be stewards of God’s creation and to appreciate His creation. I believe that this means taking care of our bodies, and I think that doing cleanses or just drinking juice to boost our immune systems can be a big part of that caring process.
I don’t think that I am the only one who has realized the importance of this type of healing, and I think, for that reason, people will continue to take part in this culture that has only recently come to Chatt.