Imagine a naive first-year’s impulse decision to venture from dorms to the Corner in scorching 96 degree weather. Now, imagine that same first-year 17 minutes later — sweating buckets and seriously considering if figuring out the U.Va. bus system will be worthwhile — in front of The Juice Laundry.
That was me. I’m that first-year. And let me tell you — what I found inside those doors was worth every one of those dreadful 17 minutes.
As soon as I walked inside, I could tell The Juice Laundry emphasized an importance on the cleansing of our bodies through nutrition. The walls were filled with informative posters and signs — one of which indicated a promise they hold as a company, “We are 100% organic, vegan, non-gmo, gluten-free, peanut-free, soy-free, dairy-free. 100% of the time” — I have never felt so assured by a wooden sign.
As a first-time customer, The Juice Laundry definitely caught my eye. Located on the Corner, it is wheelchair accessible, and it features giant windows, allowing you to peer in and notice comfortable, white hanging chairs.
The store’s ambiance and interior decoration promoted an environmentally-friendly atmosphere that featured a wide variety of plants and wooden furniture.
In fact, all of their bowls, cups, spoons, straws and other utensils are compostable. They also highlight transparency in pricing and the process of making the smoothies and juices — evident in a visual diagram next to the cashier that breaks down the production and menu price of the smoothies.
For instance, the menu price of the Bradley’s CB&J smoothie is $8.75, tax included. The poster calculates each step of its production and costs for ingredients, labor and packaging — resulting in the actual cost of that smoothie as $7.93. Through this transparency, The Juice Laundry really does a great job in providing fair service to customers.
The smoothies range from $7.75 to $8.75, depending on its ingredients. There are also many smoothie “booster” add-in options for 50 cents to $1 — such as goji berries and blue majik — that give customers the ability to customize the smoothies to their liking. In addition, the price differs from $3 to $10 for cold-pressed juices, nut milks, kombucha and energy drinks.
“You can’t go wrong with Juice Laundry,” first-year College student Aaron Mun said. “It’s a good pick me up in the middle of the week, and I know I’m making a difference in the environment through my purchase — I’m all for that.”
With sweet options like smoothies, juice cleanses and açai bowls — as well as savory options like salads and chili — The Juice Laundry makes a distinct effort to provide options for everyone. One of their most popular products is the Coco Verde smoothie for $8.75 — a mouthwatering mixture of kale, spinach, mango, coconut oil, banana, dates and coconut water. For the small additional fee of $3, customers have the option to transform any of its smoothies into a smoothie bowl with toppings such as their special house granola, banana slices, chia seeds and fresh berries.
My first experience consisted of a beautifully-blended Basil Bomb smoothie bowl for $10.75 — a delicate consistency comprised of basil, strawberries, banana, dates and their house-made cashew milk. My order was ready within minutes — just enough time for me to admire the different signs hung around the space. My only complaint would be that it didn’t last long enough for me to finish my homework.
Staff member Tori Grover pointed out their featured smoothie called “The Waterboy,” detailing how they are able to contribute to the world from within the store.
“We also have this smoothie … from the Chris Long Foundation,” Grover said. “Part of the proceeds from that goes to the Waterboy foundation and they build wells in other countries for people that need clean drinking water. It’s really cool that we’re making such a big impact on the lives of others.”
The energy of the customers and staff is also a major part of what makes The Juice Laundry unique. Victor Thorp, a staff member who has been serving customers since 2016, noted this distinction in comparison with his past workplaces.
“It’s the only business in Charlottesville that puts a large portion of its energy and income into being sustainable,'' Thorp said. “I used to work at local restaurants in Charlottesville… the customers here are a lot more friendly and happier … that’s a huge part of why I wanted to work here too.”
Thankfully, The Juice Laundry’s new location at the Aquatic and Fitness Center makes it all the more convenient and accessible for first-years like myself to enjoy these freshly-crafted and fruity creations just minutes away from first-year dorms — and from the gym too, I guess. Did I mention that you can also use your Plus Dollars at The Juice Laundry? You’re welcome — and I apologize in advance for the damage that will be done to your account.
If you’re scoping for a genuinely good smoothie bowl with an incredible mission, The Juice Laundry is definitely one of the next spots you have to check out — health food fanatics and junk food fanatics alike are welcome.
The Juice Laundry on the Corner is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Juice Laundry at the AFC is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.