Local Business Spotlight : Life is like coffee, it all depends on how you make it

Bloggers Introduction

According to the NCA (National Coffee Association) , about 64% of Americans aged 18 or older drink a cup of coffee everyday. Obviously, it is one of the most popular and consumed drinks in the United States. For many people, coffee is the first thing they think of in the morning. Some people depend on coffee for energy, while some really like to the smell and taste. For most people, it’s a bit of both. While I don’t drink it as much as the 64% of Americans, I certainly do love the beverage’s unique taste and warmth.

My personal favorite drink is a tall cup of smoothie or a protein shake. The delicious blend of various fruits, vegetable and herb juices is not only invigorating, it is superbly refreshing. This is why I love ‘Juniper Tree Juice and Coffee Bar’ right here in Chester Springs. While my parents like to grab the coffee they love so much, the freshly made, refreshing juice, smoothie and protein blends offered at Juniper Tree are my go-to drinks.

Juniper Tree Juice and Coffee Bar’ is located in Village of Eagle on Rt 100. The place offers coffee, coffee based drinks, fresh juices, smoothie bowls, and protein shakes. They also have sandwich options.

You can find the menu at https://www.junipertreejuicecoffee.com/

I love the clean, modern look of the place and the fact that the business aims to and supports other local businesses. Supporting one another is how we can keep the community strong through the tough times we are all faced with right now due to the pandemic.

I met with Mrs. Amanda Wilkes, owner of the “Juniper Tree Juice and Coffee bar” to talk to her about running the business during the pandemic. Read below to get an insight, and don’t forget to give Juniper Tree a visit!

Interview Starts Here:

Hello, Mrs. Wilkes, can you please introduce yourself and Juniper Tree to the readers?

Hello, my name is Amanda Wilkes, and I am the new owner of “Juniper Tree Coffee and Juice Bar”. I purchased the business in mid-August 2020. This was during the pandemic. We are a juice bar and a coffee shop, and we are located in the Village of Eagle, where we share the grounds with a few other small businesses. I recommend you co me in here and try our fresh juices, smoothie bowls, protein shakes, along with a variety of coffee based beverages. We are all about supporting other local businesses. We use local honey from “Extract and Box”, we use local sour dough bread for our paninis, our toasties are from Stoudt’s Bakery in Lancaster, and all of our produce is from Kegle’s Produce, a local organic farm. We also offer a lot of gluten free and vegan options. We are still able to dine in. We distance the tables and keep a 50% capacity. Many customers do tend to eat outside since they are more comfortable with that.

We do delivery with DoorDash, and offer curbside pickup. I highly recommend trying our healthy options like juices and smoothie bowls, such as the acai bowl.

What inspired you to invest in the new business during the pandemic? What were the immediate obstacles you faced as you settled into owning Juniper Tree?

I have always had it in the back of my mind, that I wanted to open a coffee shop. My background is in education, I was a teacher for 12 years, but I always felt a calling to small coffee shops. Anytime I had breaks during high school or college, I found myself at a coffee shop. However, I felt nervous and anxious about starting one up.

But, somehow during the pandemic, I did not feel as nervous or as anxious. Maybe it was because I turned 40 or maybe it was a mid life crisis. I think it could also be because of where I am in my life right now. I have 2 young daughters, and they have just started to become more independent in school, my husband is in a good place in his career and we are doing well financially and physically. It was just a time that I felt that I would be supported during the transition. I knew the risks, but I felt that life was too short and I wanted to do it now, even during the pandemic.

My parents and I sat down and we planned for the obstacles that we would could see coming. You worry a little bit about the team you are going to be working with or if customers would still come in due to the new ownership and the pandemic. However, I felt like everything has been positive so far. I have a really good team of women working with me, and customers of Juniper Tree have been wonderful. One of the biggest changes has been the change to the home and lifestyle. I have been working a lot and my current commute is 45 minutes from Lansdale. My family and I are looking to relocate to the Chester Springs/Downingtown area. I feel like that’s the time I could be with my daughters and my husband. I want to be close to my family and I want them to be close to Juniper Tree.

What are the challenges you are facing running the business in these difficult times, especially as a local, small business owner?

When I bought Juniper Tree, one of the things that I noticed was that the existing customers were very supportive. They come in here, and want to support small businesses. They are choosing us over places like Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts, which are very close by. These people are spreading the word as well, so there is a steady increase in the amount customers coming in. I anticipate It is going to get busier as customers feel more comfortable. They are required to wear masks, and they are safe in here. I think people are really looking for that latte, juice or smoothie to get away from the stress of everyday life.

Before I was the owner, Juniper Tree had closed for about 7 weeks due to the pandemic. Since I was able to buy this in late August, things were starting to re-open, so it was a little bit of an easier transition. Since there were only a few staff members, it was easier to control how safe everyone was, which was a big plus.

What is your message to the readers and the local community? How can they help local, small businesses get through these tough times?

I think the biggest thing people can do is to choose local over large businesses, and to keep spreading the word about where different shops are for more people to come and discover them. I think that is the best way for anyone to help out. I hope customers will come in and connect with Juniper Tree. I think we are all in need of a distraction in our lives. Come in and here treat yourself to a juice, a smoothie or latte. We want to be part of the community and a place where people can come together. I want the community to know that we want to keep them safe and offer them a nice distraction while providing a nourishing treat.

What inspires and motivates you to invest yourself in Juniper Tree everyday?

What comes to my mind immediately are my daughters. I have two daughters, one is 6, and the other is 8. Right now, they think I am the coolest person. They see me happy, they see me working toward something that I believe in. I want them to go through life not just having a job, but investing their time in something they are passionate about. I am making friends here and making memories, and I want my family to create memories here with me. I hope that this becomes something they can reflect upon, as a legacy.

Any words of encouragement to fellow small business owners as they fight through this historic year?

I have gotten through this with guidance from other small business owners. I think supporting one another is the most important thing. Just try to help everyone out as much as possible. That benefit will come back to you. Life is like coffee, it is all about how you make it. Keep going, stay positive, and seek help as best you can.

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