SARAH MESSER KEENAN
Contrary to what we may believe as children, growing up comes with no guide book, no roadmap, no single right way. Often times, finding a way in this world requires us getting out of our own way.
It wasn’t so long ago, in our own journey of navigating life, that Mike and I were both on very different paths than the one we are on today.
For those we haven’t had the chance to meet, Mike and I are the Founders and Operations Managers of The Juice Laundry. Mike studied Philosophy while playing baseball at Emory University, then found himself at UVa Law School. It was only a few years into practicing law before Mike made the radical and admirable decision to totally change the direction of his life.
While I was at UVa, I studied Spanish and Elementary Education. Afraid of committing to being in one place, I took off on a self-imposed sabbatical across the US and into Central America.
In 2015, we both found ourselves back in Charlottesville in 200-hour Yoga Teacher Trainings. We met, fell in love instantly, and have now been married for just over a year.
Owning and operating a small business has served as one of the most humbling, challenging, rewarding, and curious adventures of our lives thus far. So how did we arrive here?
It’s hard to pinpoint an exact moment when it all started. Rather, it seems that The Juice Laundry was conceived as a labor of love over a period of time - the culmination of many intentional choices. Mike knew he wanted to take control of his life and make a difference in the world. He wanted to create a space unlike any he had seen or been part of before. He also wanted it to be aligned with his personal mission to not just live, but to thrive.
For me, diving into preventative health care became an immediate call to action after my diagnosis of Celiac disease halfway through college. All of a sudden, I had to make big changes to my diet and lifestyle. I set out on an ever-continuing quest - full of ups and downs - of regaining my physical, mental, and emotional well-being through holistic health practices.
Our mission at The Juice Laundry is to maintain a space where anyone can come in and feel welcome, be greeted with smiling faces, and know exactly what they are eating and how it was grown. A place where the community can come together to redefine food culture. For us, The Juice Laundry is a place where vibrant plant energy can work its magic from the inside out.
We believe that it’s critical for people to be able to make informed decisions about what they eat, not only because of how food affects our bodies, but also because of how it affects our planet, now and for generations to come. Not only are we working to support organic and regenerative farms and farming practices that avoid the use of harmful chemicals to grow crops, we are also taking a stand to create a demand for organic produce. In the long run, this will decrease the price of and increase access to organic produce and ensure that only sustainable and regenerative farming practices are used.
We use glass bottles not only to reduce the amount of chemicals ingested by humans from plastic, but also to decrease waste that ends up in the ocean, adversely affecting millions of ecosystems. We use 100% biodegradable paper and plastic made of plant matter and from renewable resources. We give our organic compost to local farms to replenish the soil naturally. We pay living wages so that the preventative healthcare industry - which we very much consider ourselves part of - can support people who are passionate about making a lasting difference in the lives of others.
We want people to come into one of our locations and be inspired, and then walk out into the world equipped with the knowledge to start asking questions and making changes themselves. We want people to not only come in and be able to enjoy a 100% organic cold-pressed juice or smoothie bowl, but to empower themselves to make their own choices about what they consume and how they choose to show up in the world.
Life certainly doesn’t always go as we plan for it to. Sometimes the most beautiful experiences are created when we allow ourselves the freedom to follow our passions and the confidence to figure it out as we go. For us, each day is both a gift and a lesson learned. But, at the end of the day, what else can we all do but continue to do our best?