Lufkin will be welcoming its closest juice bar in a 100-mile radius Thursday for the soft opening of The Juzi Spot.
The Juzi Spot is owned by Joseph and Allanah Ceasar, founders of the Legacy Institute for Financial Education. Allanah said they hope to provide a third space for community members to come to work, relax and enjoy good food and drink.
“We are excited to be providing a service to the community that is pretty much untapped right now,” Allanah said. “It’s nice to be able to provide something that the people locally are looking for.”
The Juzi Bar has Wi-Fi and outlets, indoor and outdoor seating and large windows with natural light. The Ceasars hope to bring in spoken word and poetry events, as well.
One of the first goals the Ceasars have for the juice bar is to teach customer service because they noticed a need in restaurants around town.
“I believe that if we could train people and actually have them ready to provide great service for the restaurants in town, then overall it would improve and we could get people employed,” Joseph said.
Manager LaSashia Wilkerson joined The Juzi Bar staff because she saw the need to train people in customer service.
“When I became a manager (at a local restaurant), I started to see more that the kids of this generation just do not care,” she said. “I wanted to go to a position where I could actually help.”
The opportunity to influence the next generation of employees was exciting to Wilkerson, and she said, even if her impact is small, she is glad to have an effect.
The next goal is to provide a natural, whole-food option for people in the community who are vegan, vegetarian or searching for a healthier option.
“We are combining a vegan restaurant with an all-natural, cold-pressed juice and smoothie bar,” he said. “We are training our staff to be educated on the health benefits of all the ingredients we are using, and we are using some ingredients that people are not accustomed to hearing.”
Some of these ingredients include camu camu berry, ashwagandha root and amla berry or gooseberry. There is no added sugar to any of the items on The Juzi Bar’s menu, Joseph said. Everything is naturally sweetened.
In addition to being a community spot for vegan and vegetarian eats, The Juzi Spot will be a training site for those seeking employment and entrepreneurial experience.
The Ceasars will be partnering with WorkForce Solutions to connect with people who would like to work an internship. They will start at the cash register. Then they will obtain a food handler’s license to work in the kitchen and eventually obtain their food management license.
“Some of the skills that we’re teaching will translate across different career fields,” Joseph said. “So if you are great at customer service in the food service industry, you should be great at customer service for retail at Walmart, Target, Georgia-Pacific, any of those places that deal with customer service.”
The Juzi Bar is a build-your-own experience with items like the Mighty Bowl and the Mighty Salad.
The Mighty Bowl includes a carb (quinoa, brown jasmine rice and/or barley), a bean (red/kidney, black, chickpeas and/or lentils), a green (sauteed kale and/or lightly sauteed spinach) and a topping (avocado slices, basil cream sauce, berry balsamic sauce and/or nuts).
The Smoothie Bowls include an acai berry or passion fruit base with granola, chia seeds, honey and more.