On Sunday, Sept. 22, Saratoga Juice Bar closed after six years of serving fresh juice, acai bowls, vegan wraps, sandwiches, protein bites, and smoothies to the Saratoga Springs community.
Saratoga Springs has always enjoyed large crowds in the summer season due to the race track, which boasts some of the country’s most competitive equestrian racing — not to mention all the high-scale concerts at Saratoga Performing Arts Center.
Even during the Fall season, with the year-round farmer’s market and the quiet beauty of Congress Park and Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga has become a destination for myriads of people. Despite these attractions, larger crowds of tourists and business owners come with benefits and pitfalls.
Customers discovered that Saratoga Juice Bar lost its lease when the store founders, Christel Albritton Maclean and Colin Scott Maclean left a note on their door, which circulated through the Legacy Juice Works website and the juice bar’s social media platforms.
Colin Maclean stated to the Skidmore News that their lease was up, and the landlord had plans to reclaim the property to open a real-estate business. Although there has been discussion on finding a new property and owner, there are no concrete plans as of now.
The Macleans want to shift their focus mainly onto the wholesale business and mentioned that they are “very focused on the wellness side of things.”
In a follow-up comment to the Skidmore News, Maclean mentioned that him and his partner are grateful for the Juice bar’s six-year run, “It was a great experience from the get-go, we love what we have been doing”.
Maclean also said that “it’s wonderful to have the Skidmore Community around,” as the Legacy Juice bar beverages can be found on campus at the Spa.
However, the closing of small businesses like Saratoga Juice Bar raises general concerns about staying afloat in an increasingly competitive market. Circus Cafe, a restaurant also owned by the Macleans that served pub-style American cuisine, closed this past year due to a similar issue: with a lease and “a very challenging labor Climate,” as reported by the Saratogian.
Legacy Juice Works, the health-conscious company behind Saratoga Juice Bar, was founded in Saratoga in July 2013. The mission of the family-run business was to provide organic, cold-pressed juices, formed by using a pressure process to retain the vitamins and minerals of the fruits and vegetables. “I like the variety of options they have, that the drinks aren’t overly sweet,” said Sofia Saenz ‘21.
The Macleans were inspired by the ethos of wellness embedded in Saratoga Springs. They aimed to expand the company into different locations around the east coast and Los Angeles, California.
As a wholesale company, Legacy Juice works sells juices and recipes in over 800 locations on the east coast, several of those including New York grocery stores like Hannaford, Price Chopper, and Healthy Living Market.
Saratoga Springs has recently been a hotspot for larger corporations to establish their businesses. The price of rent on Broadway and surrounding areas continues to rise as restaurants and retail stores move around to different locations or close altogether.
Although the Juice Bar has left Broadway, the Macleans hope to keep their legacy of wellness and fresh ingredients alive with Legacy Juice Works products.
I won’t soon forget my first experience with Saratoga Springs-based Legacy Juice Works. My dad, who’s a major spice fanatic, gave me a sip of his Big Shot—one of the company’s 12 cold-pressed juices, which is made with apple, lemon, ginger…and cayenne. Needless to say, my mild-suited palate was ill prepared, and it completely cleared my sinuses! Thankfully, Legacy has a number of other more me-friendly flavors, such as Smooth Green (cucumber, apple, kale), and my favorite, Melon Breeze (watermelon, grapefruit and a hint of lime). I’ve since become a big fan.
Who do we have to thank for Legacy’s sweet (and sometimes spicy) legacy? Colin and Christel MacLean, who originally opened the business as Saratoga Juice Bar on Broadway in 2013. Two years later, the couple moved into the wholesale market with Legacy Juice Works, and since then, the brand has exploded, expanding its presence to more than 800 retailers nationwide, including both JFK and LaGuardia airports in NYC, 27 Gelson’s Markets on the West Coast and hundreds of CVS pharmacies. Legacy was even commissioned by Wegmans Food Markets to produce the lone cold-pressed tart cherry juice on the market. “Our store is our innovative lab space,” Christel says. “We use it as a testing space where we create new recipes, mix new flavor profiles and get feedback. You’re hearing things all the time, you’re understanding what people are looking for, and it’s great to be able to take that and develop it for the wholesale market. I think that’s our little secret weapon.”
Aside from making an honest living, one of the MacLeans’ main goals in producing their delicious line of juices is to promote healthy living—and the cold-press process is the key. Each 12-ounce bottle has the juice of approximately three pounds (!) of fresh produce in it. After each bottle is filled, it goes into what’s called a cold-water chamber. There, it gets hit from all sides with 87,000 pounds of pressure, killing any bacteria but keeping the active enzymes and vitamins intact. The finished product retains 100 percent of its raw ingredients’ nutrients.
So why choose Saratoga for their company’s HQ? “Saratoga’s so unique: People really do care about wellness and playing hard, but being healthy at the same time,” Christel says. I know exactly what she’s talking about. As someone who plays hard and stays healthy—but sometimes skips my daily dose of fresh fruits and vegetables—I find Legacy Juice Works the perfect liquid meal. (Hold the cayenne, please!)
Maddy Conroy is a junior at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, who's majoring in English and loves portrait photography. Recently, she also worked as an Editorial Assistant at saratoga living magazine.
Saratoga Juice Bar renames, expands wholesale line
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Saratoga Juice Bar is changing the name of its growing wholesale juice business to Legacy Juice Works.
The new name ties the healthful image the company projects for its cold-pressed juices with Saratoga Springs’ 200-year legacy as a wellness destination. It also resolves a challenge filed in April 2016 by Saratoga Spring Water Company over the right to use the word “Saratoga.” The name change takes effect at the end of the month.
Saratoga Juice Bar co-owner Christel MacLean called the renaming part of an amicable settlement of the dispute.
Co-owner Colin MacLean said the couple’s retail business at 382 Broadway will retain the “Saratoga Juice Bar” moniker. Only the wholesale business is changing its name; the bottles of juice will remain the same size and shape, but the front will bear the “Legacy Juice Works” label.
The rear of the bottle will continue to offer a short narrative of the company’s history.
“Our story never changes — we are who we are,” said Colin MacLean, adding that he doesn’t expect the name change to be a detriment to retail sales.
“We feel as we go broader in the marketplace, it’s going to benefit us,” he added.
New York City and Los Angeles, where the company has production facilities, are both focal points of the business’s expansion effort.
The company’s cold-pressed juices and wellness shots are now sold in more than 500 retail locations, including CVS, Hannaford, Price Chopper/Market 32 and Wegmans, plus additional non-retail locations such as gyms, spas, restaurants and hotels.
Also Wednesday, the MacLeans announced the launch of a suite of organic tart cherry beverages — three 8-ounce bottles and a 2-ounce wellness shot.
The company is raising capital for other initiatives, Colin MacLean said. They include additional products and a new e-commerce platform. It also will continue to support health, education and wellness-related organizations locally and nationally. In 2018, the company plans to donate a portion of retail and wholesale profits to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and Feeding America.
The MacLeans were longtime restaurateurs in Saratoga Springs but closed their last eatery — The Circus Cafe — in September so they could devote full attention to the juice business.
As the wholesale line grows, so do sales at the Broadway retail location, Colin MacLean said.
“We’re up quite a bit this year in revenue; the Juice Bar is doing very well,” he said.
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