Known for being trendy, healthy and tasty, raw juice bars have popped up all over the United States.
The fruit and vegetable juice market will be worth a sizable $257.17 billion by 2025, according to Grand View Research, Inc.
So it’s no surprise this trend has hit Dayton, but what may be surprising is the rest of the story behind Dayton’s newest raw juice bar, The Santa Clara Juicery.
Owned and operated by husband and wife Elizabeth and Dave Furst, The Santa Clara Juicery is the first step to what the duo hopes to be a revitalization of the Santa Clara neighborhood. Elizabeth grew up in the neighborhood, often helping her parents with their business, Evans Electric, after school.
“Everyone pretty much pulled out except for my parents and an insurance broker at the end (of the street) who eventually had to pull out due to health issues.” said Elizabeth Furst. “This block is really only going to get redone by us.”
Santa Clara is one of Dayton’s 65 neighborhoods. Though the small district is No. 36 on a list of total population, the district ranks sixth for population density per square mile (listed at No. 6 on that list). The average annual income is approximately $21K per year, about half of the average annual income for Montgomery County at $43K.
The neighborhood has faced its share of challenges from crime to low income. The business owners hope to see positive growth starting with service.
The Fursts hosted a clean-up day this month, which shot some adrenaline to the heart of their mission.
“We had both housing associations from the area come together for a clean-up day, and both were very excited for what is happening here.”
This type of active and engaged service is exactly what the juicery hopes to bring to the area.
“We’d really like to become a health district. Some of the other things we’d like to see here are a gym, a bike shop, possibly a pop-up clinic or urgent care. We’ve talked about transforming a former dance studio back. People have asked us about that a lot because they have nothing like that in this area.”
The couple is also working with a grocery chain, bike engineer and others in hopes of bringing in mobile or pop-up style services to the area. A few other ideas on the wish list include a backyard patio, brewpub and creating an attraction to bring people to the area and create a new economy.
“I’ll be meeting with the Director of Economic Development in Dayton to help determine how what we’re doing here can effect the economy in Dayton overall. In 5 to 10 years, we’re expecting to see the growth of Dayton trickle to the North — and we’re active in asking what can we do now so that when traffic starts pushing, there’s a reason to come here.”
Dayton ranked as one of the worst metropolitan areas in the U.S. for food hardship in 2015, according to the Food Research & Action Center. The city ranked 11th out of the 109 metropolitan statistical areas represented in Gallup data for “households who indicated they experienced food hardship.”
A 2016 report named Dayton-area ninth in the nation for food hardship.
In Santa Clara, nearly 60 percent of its residents are single mothers and 584 of the neighborhood’s 1,632 residents are 18 years old or younger.
“This area is in a food desert. In this particular neighborhood, one-third of the families don’t have vehicles and more than one-third can’t afford to put a meal on the table more than once a day,” said Dave Furst. “In order to get food, the only way they can get food is to hitch a ride, or settle for something they can find at Dollar General. There’s nowhere to go; you can’t walk to get food.”
“The other day, a family walked behind the shop, and we’re grilling hot dogs. The family had a 2-year old and a 4-year old. We asked if they wanted something to eat. Come to find out, they’re on their way to CSL plasma to sell enough to get a bus fare so they can go sell their kid’s clothes so they can get a meal for the night. And that’s all over here. You should’ve seen these kids’ faces light up when I brought them groceries. They didn’t even know how to react to bananas.”
For residents in this neighborhood, The People’s Market sells food, but more convenience-style options and rarely stocks fresh produce. There’s also a Family Dollar nearby, offering similar edible options.
A short drive away, a new market is in the works. The Gem City Market will be built on the 300 and 400 block of Salem Ave., bringing a full-service grocery store to one of the largest food deserts in the state. It will be Dayton’s first worker and community-owned co-operative grocery store. The goal is to open by the end of 2019.
The Fursts aren’t the first to work to take action in the neighborhood.
“We know of a non-profit that’s also looking to bring a job placement/residency building at the corner of North Main and Santa Clara to help people that are emancipated from the foster care system so that they can have a job right away and a place to live.”
Children and teens aren’t the only ones suffering from lack of opportunity or resources in the area.
“We want to use this and other businesses to employ people in this area. A lot of people have criminal backgrounds and can’t get jobs. So want to be able to help give them a job.”
“We have a lot of friends who live in this area who are nurses. Now that Good Sam has shut down, Grandview has scooped up a lot of local nurses. We’ve been working with Grandview to do some cross promotion. This is a food desert, so we’re the only healthy option. We’re going to cross-promote health screenings, educational community nights. The nurses are excited, because their only coffee options are Brown St. and Wayne Ave., so we’ll be way more convenient for them,” said Elizabeth Furst.
In effort to provide more healthy options to the community, the Fursts are also working on becoming a location for food banks and harvest box pickups. The idea is to combine education, options and resources for this community, which so desperately needs it.
“We’ve talked to the city, planners and developers, and we all agree — things can only go up.”
Currently, Elizabeth is actively sources as many local organic fruits and vegetables as possible to use in the juice recipes. Some of the produce will be imported from the south and California.
You can follow their Facebook page for additional details. A portion of profits from juice sales will be returned to the Santa Clara district through investment, community action and programs.
Want to go?
WHAT: The Santa Clara Juicery
WHERE: 1912 N. Main St., Dayton