In an area mostly populated by chain restaurants and fast food outlets, Fort Oglethorpe has a new venue with fresh, organic options — and residents have been eating it up.
The Local Juice & Coffee at Battlefield Parkway has been gaining more and more popularity since opening in December 2016, said owner Trent Brockie.
The juice bar, an offshoot of The Local Juicery + Kitchen in Chattanooga, offers raw, organic juices and healthy smoothies.
Brockie said he saw the need for the second location when he noticed the surplus of bikes and runners outside chain restaurants on Battlefield Parkway. An athlete himself, Brockie knows how vital good nutrition can be, and he saw an opportunity to provide healthy options to the runners and cyclists who train at the nearby Chickamauga Battlefield, as well as to local residents.
The concept of "juicing" has itself gained more traction as a local trend since juice bars began popping up in Chattanooga around 2014. The process extracts most of the vitamins and minerals from whole fruits and vegetables and makes them bioavailable, meaning they go directly into the bloodstream after entering the body.
"It's just extremely restorative and healing," Brockie explained. "Getting a green smoothie or a juice in the day is getting a whole bunch of nutrients that you wouldn't have gotten otherwise by eating a standard American diet."
Much like its Chattanooga counterpart, Fort Oglethorpe's Local Juice provides a variety of cold-pressed juices, such as Greens No. 2, a customer favorite made with pineapple, spinach, apple and mint. But the new location also offers made-to-order juices, which reduce overhead costs and keep prices low for customers.
As the name suggests, the new juice bar has also added specialty coffee to its menu, another thing Brockie said the area is lacking.
So far, the community's response has been astounding, he said. The shop has already amassed a loyal customer base, with about 70 percent of daily visitors being regulars.
"It's going really well," Brockie said. "People are really receptive and excited that we're there with something totally unique for them."
Going forward, he hopes to roll out a line of health-conscious meals made to grab and go called "fit plus meals," and he is already looking for opportunities to nurture the store's relationship with the community, whether through informational lectures or events, to raise awareness about the restorative power of juicing and organic products.
Fort Oglethorpe has served as a great test market, Brockie said, and he plans to expand to one or two more locations this year.