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Monday, Apr 22, 2024

Sustainable Kitchen buys Juice Amour

Juice Amour and Sustainable Kitchen are both family-owned businesses. Seen here, from left to right: Sheri Bedard, Shawna Sherwin (Sheri’s sister and manager), Rick.
Juice Amour and Sustainable Kitchen are both family-owned businesses. Seen here, from left to right: Sheri Bedard, Shawna Sherwin (Sheri’s sister and manager), Rick.

Juice Amour, a local juice bar that sells smoothies, açai bowls, and other healthy raw and organic foods, was acquired on March 6 by Sustainable Kitchen, a vegan, vegetarian and gluten free food-delivery service based in Lincoln, Vt. Juice Amour’s current storefront on Exchange Street in Middlebury will serve as Sustainable Kitchen’s first in-person location, as the business currently only provides catering, participates in farmers’ markets and sells items wholesale. 

Kate Halladay and Richard Causey, a married couple with a daughter named Flora, will continue the tradition of a family-owned business in the space — Sheri Bedard founded Juice Amour with her father David Bedard in 2015.

"We are thrilled to embark on this journey with Juice Amour and the Middlebury community," Kate Halladay wrote in a March 7 press release. "We are dedicated to maintaining the high standards set by Sheri, David, and the team while bringing new and exciting offerings to our customers."

Sheri Bedard shared her thoughts on the acquisition in an interview with The Campus. After almost a decade of ownership, Bedard said she realized it was time to take the business to the next level. While she is familiar with the marketing side of owning a business, she is less acquainted with food production. 

“I own another business that’s in marketing, and I teach a class at Champlain College, and I’m very busy. Juice Amour was always a passion project,” Bedard said. “At the time we opened there was no other place to get raw juice and raw food… I wanted to have a place like that for our community.”

Before the acquisition, Juice Amour carried several Sustainable Kitchen products in the store, which were well received, according to Bedard. 

Her sister, Shawna Sherwin, is a manager at Juice Amour and helped make the connection between the two businesses. Sustainable Kitchen was searching for an in-person center for the business, and taking over Juice Amour was a clear next step in their growth.

Bedard expressed her excitement for the acquisition by Sustainable Kitchen – “I know that they are committed to the same things that we are.” 

She hopes the new owners are able to bring Juice Amour’s supporters even more of what they want given they have more of a specialty in food.

Halladay and Causey intend to preserve the current menu and expand to offer breakfast and lunch options, according to the press release. Juice Amour’s hours will extend accordingly, and under new ownership it will offer pump coffee from its neighbor, Little Seed Coffee Roasters. The new owners also plan to create a small store in the front, full of foods and snacks from other local vendors with whom they partner.

Bedard values healthy eating and clean food, she said, and has always tried to sell tasty fruits and vegetables at accessible price points at Juice Amour. 

“The hardest part is the cost,” Bedard said. “It feels like there are lots of subsidies for meat and vegetables, and very little for fruits and vegetables.” 

Bedard said she hopes that by having on-site cooks, Sustainable Kitchen will be able to buy in bulk and prepare bigger batches of food, reducing prices and making the food more accessible to the community, something for which she has always aimed. 

Eloise McFarlane ’24.5 has worked at Juice Amour on and off for three years making juices, smoothies and other food. She said the best part of working at Juice Amour is her coworkers. 

“They have allowed me to engage the community in a meaningful and fun way,” McFarlane wrote in a message to The Campus. She also enjoys making her own special concoctions with coworkers, like her version of a crunchwrap, which includes cheese, avocado, mushrooms, sauteed vegetables, homemade tortilla chips and Juice Amour’s secret sauce. 

She has also loved the connections that Juice Amour has had with the greater college and local community. 

“Lots of athletes come in pre- or post-workouts it seems. Kids also do work there often. One group of students even filmed part of a short film in our space,” McFarlane wrote.

McFarlane had been told about the acquisition, but didn’t expect it to significantly change her work experience. “It’s mostly adding more of a food element on top of the typical juices and smoothies,” she said. 

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Juice Amour will have an official launch party under its new ownership in early April. Both the former and new owners feel optimistic about the acquisition of Juice Amour. 

“After this, we will be their best customers. But we will no longer be owners,” Bedard said. “They’re planning on keeping everything that makes it Juice Amour, and adding to it.” 

Julia Pepper

Julia Pepper '24 (she/her) is the Senior Local Editor. 

She previously served as a Local Editor. She is a Psychology major and French minor. This past spring she studied in Paris. She spent the summer interning at home in New York City, putting her journalistic cold calling skills to use at her internship doing outreach with senior citizens. In her free time she enjoys reading and petting cats.