Three white millennials walk into a juice bar. What a cliché, right? Downtown Kitchener is now home to two juice bars, right across the street from each other, near to the intersection of King and Water Streets. Goodvibes makes their own cold-pressed juice on site, using local produce whenever possible. The business, open for a few months now, was started by Drew Butterworth and Llyod Arbour.
Cold pressed juice is a status symbol, the same way a venti Starbucks cup is — only supposedly healthy. The internet is saturated with green juice recipes, expensive cleanses and pictures of California one-percenters like Gwyneth Paltrow drinking kale based concoctions.
So what is it doing in Kitchener and should we be buying into the trend?
It’s up to you. Goodvibes’ most expensive juice is The Gardener, ringing up at $10; kale, romaine, cucumber, celery, green bean, spinach, lemon and ginger fill the 400ml bottle. The price tag seems outrageous, but Butterworth and Arbour say that three pounds of produce go into each bottle. They also note that our culture is accustomed to not paying fair prices for food. Instead, most of us buy mass produced and highly processed food with little nutritional value, for the lowest possible price.
Paying $10 for a glass of lettuce is a stretch from our cultural norm, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Butterworth and Arbour are fighting the “cheaper-is-better” culture.
Goodvibe’s section of downtown is in mid-gentrification with businesses like Slices Diner and the New York Rock head shop across the street from PURE juice bar + Kitchen and GoGo mart. The latter businesses cater to the downtown lunch crowd, which, with the Tannery and Breithaupt block nearby, is quite large. Goodvibes is benefiting from their proximity to the tech world as well. The One Victoria condo building across from the already bougie Kaufman Lofts has likely sealed the deal on gentrifying that end of downtown.
Some people walking by Goodvibes will roll their eyes at the business that is arguably representative of downtown’s rapid revitalization-cum-gentrification, the same way they will at the various luxe condos sprouting up. But Arbour and Butterworth assure that their clientele covers a wide spectrum of income levels, and Butterworth says you only need to drink a small amount to get a significant nutritional benefit (even though it might still leave you hungry). So far, the business partners say they’ve been welcomed in the downtown.
The space is small – a juicer and a fridge was all they needed to start, said Butterworth. His original home juicer sits in the storefront on display, mostly retired since Arbour and Butterworth purchased an industrial sized machine. The fridge is stocked full with various juices, cold brew coffee, local maple syrup and house-brewed kombucha, a recent addition.
Butterworth and Arbour say they are committed to making the business as sustainable as possible. “Our goal is to get to zero waste,” Butterworth said. They are currently seeking a local farm to take their produce waste as food for animals, and ask customers to return all bottles for reuse.
So whether or not you are interested, juice bars are likely here to stay. And if you want an easy way to get the green veggies nutritionists are always talking about, Goodvibes might be your place.