My husband [Landon Eckles] and I founded the company in 2014. I had been super passionate about health and wellness, and healthy eating and making juices and smoothies at home. I floated the idea to Landon, and we jumped on it. So from the beginning, I’ve really taken control of all of the menu, all of the look and feel of the stores—any of our aesthetics or product offerings.
It’s funny looking back. The two jobs I had in high school were both small businesses and locally owned shops. That probably put something in me, but I didn’t even realize it at the time. I’ve always known that if I was going to work, it probably couldn’t be for someone else. Entrepreneurship’s always been something I loved.
The last few years, we were just so busy and crazy. I wanted to take a step back and look at the way we could make the biggest impact. We launched Quarters 4 Kids, which gives our employees an opportunity to donate 25 cents of every paycheck, and the guest can do it from their transactions. But it will go into a fund that we can use to support programs that benefit children in the communities that our stores are in.
Right now, people need that positive environment. We were slow for March, April, and May, when things were really intense. But June and July, we saw our same-store sales be better than 2019. People are more interested in health. Because they slowed down and went into quarantine, they were exercising more and changing their diet. I’m hoping that we see them remain in prioritizing their health.
Health is funny because I feel like every year there’s a new trend. I think we’re pretty well-positioned as a concept that has some staying power. When things might not go perfectly, we take it to heart. We’ve had some hard days, for sure. But I think it just makes us stronger, it makes our company stronger, and it makes our marriage stronger.
For us, the heart of who we are is that we serve organic fruits and vegetables. That’s hopefully not going anywhere.
My first job ever, I was a babysitter. But then my first real job was at an ice cream store.
What is your favorite Clean Juice item? I have a Clean Juice green cold-press every day. I almost can’t function without it.
I love Mexican food. I could have egg tacos for breakfast, tacos for lunch, and enchiladas for dinner every day.
I’m a very strong Christian, so Jesus would be my first one. He lays out a great example of the right way to treat people. Outside of that, I adore Tim Tebow. I adore the way that he uses his platform to speak about the things that matter.
The restaurant industry is hard. It takes a gritty person. Surround yourself with the right people, invest in them, and realize how important they are to you and your brand. If you do that, generally the other things seem to work themselves out.
We have a large family. We have five young kids. I really enjoy being home with them. That’s my biggest joy in life for sure. I’m actually getting my master’s right now in Biblical studies, too.