Talk to any member of the Richard family about their family-owned and operated business for at least five minutes and you’ll undoubtedly hear them crediting the work of another member of the family. “My wife Tameko is the one who knows everything about the business. She’s the one you have to talk to,” said husband and co-owner Vernon Richard. “And my daughter, Taylor Richard, runs the East Lansing store. She does everything. She does bookkeeping, serves customers, and does consultations.”
The Richard family moved to Lansing from Detroit about 10 years ago after Vernon was convinced by his cousin, MSU basketball player turned NBA star Steve Smith. “Steve encouraged me to move up here. I brought my wife here and the first place I took her was October Moon. The owner gave her a wonderful perspective of what life was like in the Lansing area. After we moved here we had the idea that we wanted to open something in the health and wellness field. We noticed there weren’t any juice bars in the area and so we started talking to residents and surveying folks in the downtown area to see if the community would support a health-focused business,” said Vernon.
And thus, Juice Nation was born. Now boasting three locations in downtown Lansing, Old Town, and East Lansing, the store offers rejuvenating juices, smoothies, 1-day reboots, and 3, 5, and 7-day juice cleanse packages for those looking to “press the reset button on their health.” The store also hosted a cleanse week last year to engage a larger community in thinking about health. “We had 200 people sign up to do a five-day cleanse at the downtown store.”
To make their signature juices, the Richards use what is called the “cold press method.” They have a 6-foot tall, 1200-pound machine that pressurizes fruits and vegetables to produce juice and get the full amount of nutrients from them. “What is unique about our business, is that we use high-grade top-quality products. Whole fruits, no sugars, and no syrups. The cold-pressed juices are all organic, no preservatives,” said Tameko. They also sell their juices in glass bottles which can be returned to the store and reused.
While Juice Nation’s focus is on health and wellness, the Richards also prioritize engaging with the community. “We do health fairs in the community. We give donations. We try to be involved in the state health and wellness program. Last year we ran a program called Getting Lansing Healthy One Reboot at a Time. We opened at 7am every morning to serve people their juice. We wanted to create an opportunity for a large group of people in Lansing to get healthy at one time,” said Tameko. “Even if you’re not doing a whole lifestyle change, it’s good to see what you’re putting into your body. Your body is what you eat.”
When asked why they chose Lansing both Vernon and Tameko emphasize the support they’ve received from the Lansing community. “Vernon did some research on the market and there wasn’t anything here. Lansing was an opportunity that came,” said Tameko. “Everyone here is super nice. It’s a very loving, involving community of people. They’re very friendly and welcoming. Everyone is very supportive.”
“I love the small town where everyone knows each other vibe,” adds Vernon, “I think living in a small town makes everyone more accountable. I feel like it’s a community within a community. People have known each other for years. I’ve been extremely embraced from the day I moved up here.”
If you ask them to talk about their business model and the success of their stores in Lansing the first thing any of the Richards will say is family. “It’s fun,” says Tameko, “we come together and collaborate on the vision we see. We work together to make sure the vision comes together and because of that we’re able to offer something for the community.”
Juice Nation has three locations in the greater Lansing area: 111 S. Washington Square, 2830 E Grand River, and 110 E Grand River Avenue. To learn more about the business, visit their website at https://www.juicenationmi.com/.