In the heart of a vibrant, growing city you’ll find a local business dedicated to the people.
“Juice for the People is one of our slogans, but it means so much more than cold pressed juice,” Zest Juice Co. co-owner Jordan Helman explains. “Our entire business model is designed for the people of Columbus.”
Columbus, Ohio is home to the husband and wife team. It’s the same city they met in 4 years ago.
“I’ve always been passionate about a healthy lifestyle,” Natalie tells us. “I started juicing several years ago, and I would order my cleanses from juice bars in California. At the time, there weren’t any juice bars in Columbus, so Jordan and I started brainstorming.”
The couple spent almost 2 years researching the juice industry, the marketplace, menus and prime locations. They eventually set their sights on Grandview, and when they landed upon a small storefront on W. 5th Avenue, Zest suddenly became a reality.
“The name ‘Zest’ was chosen because we felt it had a vitality to it, much like this city. The word carries a lot of energy and it really set the tone for our business.” Jordan says.
“We didn’t have any experience in the industry. We were just two people with a passion for health, a dream to provide those healthy options to our neighbors, and a commitment to paving the pathway to a healthier lifestyle.”
Fast-forward to today, Zest is scheduled to open their 3rd and 4th locations in Central Ohio. The stores at Easton Town Center and The Short North are both slated for late-July/early August openings. Ironically, it’s the same time their first child is due.
“Nothing can be timed perfectly. It’s been a busy summer to say the least, but we couldn’t be happier! Our explosive growth is 100% because of our loyal customers and this ‘family’ we’ve created…with our employees.” Natalie says.
Family is a word frequently used at Zest. “Our turnover is incredibly low,” says Jordan, “it’s very rare in the food industry, but many of the employees we started with are still here. All of our employees started at hourly, entry-level positions and now many of them are managers. We’re incredibly proud of that.”
Something else the Helmans are proud of, is giving back to the community. That’s why Zest is heavily involved in several charities and nonprofits, including Pelotonia. The grass roots organization hosts a 3-day bike tour to raise funds for cancer research. This year, Zest is donating the bags for swag that will go out to the thousands of riders. “The Ride” and “The Goal” are two juices you’ll see on the Zest shelf from February to October. The popular juices were created specifically with Pelotonia in mind, a portion of every purchase goes directly to the organization.
“We are also involved with the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon, The New Albany Walking Classic, and The Columbus Bluejackets Foundation. Two nonprofits we support are Thirst Relief International and Pets without Parents,” Natalie says.
“We have two specialty juices that directly funnels monetary donations to these organizations. Thirst Relief International is committed to providing access to clean water in third world countries. Pets without Parents is a local nonprofit animal rescue center for dogs and cats,” says Jordan.
The local business community has been very supportive of the startup. “We’ve made some incredible relationships. We are supporting many local businesses. You’ll find a lot of local ingredients on our menu and that will only continue to grow.”
A growing menu is in the works as Zest spreads to four Central Ohio locations. “We started with a small menu of 8-9 juices and 3 smoothies. But our intent was to ALWAYS expand our menu,” Natalie says. “I’m currently working on new juice flavors for the fall, and our chef Alyse Cho will be rolling out some new food items as well.”
As Zest expands, the leadership remains grounded. “We just treat people the way we want to be treated,” Jordan explains. “And, it reflects in our everyday business. Our managers are passionate and take ownership. We may not have been the first, but we are striving to be the best juice bar in the city.”
Zest for the People, is something the couple stands by. Providing Fresh. Healthy. Honest. options is their commitment to the people of Central Ohio.