One of my favorite aspects of the Sunnyside community are the local businesses. Local businesses are what shape the neighborhood in Sunnyside, and it is what makes it unique and diverse, but they are also why it feels like a strong tight knit community. For my first Local Business feature, I interviewed Eric Barthels of Cooldown Juice! If you’re into pressed juices (or you want to see what they are all about), and advocating a healthy lifestyle for yourself, you have to check out Cooldown Juice! You will not be disappointed. Check out their cleanses, cold pressed juices, acai bowls, and wheatgrass shots (grown on premises!). Hopefully my feature will prompt you to take a run to one of their two locations! Below is my interview with Eric Barthels, the founder of Cooldown Juice!
My Sunnyside Life: Why did you want to open Cooldown Juice?
Eric: For about 12 years I worked in the recruiting industry, owning my own company in the city. Working in the white collar world, dealing with small companies – business to business primarily. It was very stressful and the company got very large. I ended up selling it and taking some time to reflect on my health and my life. I traveled a lot, about a year or two. One of the things that I did was get involved in the gym, I went to Physique and I also got into juicing. I really gravitated towards it, and before I knew it I was making a bunch of juices, not only for myself but for my friends. It was basically my own business without any revenue, just helping out my friends. I decided that I really enjoyed doing it and I wanted to create a life shift, more on health and creating a space for the locals that I see everyday. So, I decided to open up Cooldown Juice.
MSL: When did you open the first Cooldown Juice?
E: 2 ½ years ago, and our newest location opened up about 6 weeks ago!
MSL: How did Cooldown Juice get its name?
E: Our juice is cold-pressed, so Cooldown Juice explains what we do! It is something easy, something smooth that reflects what we do. Cooldownjuice.com was open, and we liked it! It makes our brand consistent with our internet URL. It is owned by us.
MSL: Besides juice, what else do you offer your customers?
E: We serve trail mix, chips, wheatgrass shots, and protein packages. Just this week we began serving acai bowls, which have been a huge hit. In the next couple of weeks we’ll be offering high quality organic items as well!
MSL: What did you hope to achieve when you opened up Cooldown Juice?
E: I wanted to have a business that my family can grow with, that is local. I want to be able to support my family and in turn create a product that doesn’t exist in the local neighborhood.
MSL: Why did you choose Sunnyside to open up your business?
E: I am a Sunnyside resident and I love Sunnyside. I am a very active member of the community, and I am the Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce. I take part in all the events. I love the community and built my life here. My friends are here and my son goes to school here. It was something that the community didn’t have, so it was a good fit!
MSL: What is your favorite part about Sunnyside?
E: The fact that is a small town in a big city. You see a lot of small businesses popping up, you really don’t see big chains like in many other parts of queens. Many people who have businesses here are those who have been in the community for a long time. Everyone helps each other out.
MSL: How has cooldown juice been received in the community?
E: Very well! Yelp has been very kind to us, so has Facebook and Google Plus. Almost all positive reviews and great regards. The community has been very responsive to us.
MSL: What made you want to pursue the delivery aspect of your business?
E: It made a lot of sense. Initially, we thought about exclusively doing delivery when we first opened up because the majority of our business are the juice cleanses. The delivery cost is very minimal when doing 2-3 day cleanses and it makes it easier for people who can’t get their juice when they need it.
MSL: You just opened your second store, was there any reason why you picked that exact location?
E: I have always liked Skillman and I wanted to stay in Sunnyside. It is the exact opposite corner from my other store location, a mile away. A lot of my friends are on Skillman, and it’s beautiful with the farmers market and Sunnyside Gardens. There is also significantly more foot traffic.
MSL: Do you have any partnerships in the area?
E: We work closely with Suryaside Yoga Studio, across the street. If a customer buys a cleanse, they get a free yoga session at the studio. They are our friends, so we cross promote very heavily.
MSL: What do you hope Cooldown Juice does for the neighborhood of Sunnyside?
E: I hope it helps it get healthy! The whole point of Cooldown Juice is to make everyone as healthy as possible. I believe that along with other health oriented companies in the neighborhood, we can help people get on track. Last year I held, with Sunnyside Shines and sponsored by the Sunnyside Chamber, a Health Hour that had 10 health companies from Sunnyside do demos, and giveaway raffles. The event was free and there was about 250 people there! Everyone learned about all the health oriented places in the neighborhood in a one hour crash course.
MSL: In what way have you seen the neighborhood changing since you have been a part of the community?
E: Local Sunnyside businesses owners are opening up unique and beautiful establishments in Sunnyside focused on serving the hyper local Sunnyside community!
MSL: Favorite signature blend?
E: Essential Elements: spinach, almond milk, banana, cacao, dates and a little vanilla. It’s like drinking an ice cream and it’s only 230 calories- unbelievable
MSL: Best Green Juice?
E: The Shaman: apple, kale, spinach, romaine, celery, cucumber, lemon and ginger!
MSL: Favorite acai bowl?
There are two types! We have our Regular Acai Bowl. It is unsweetened, and it has granola. It also has banana, coconut water and a tiny bit of agave. We also can put toppings on top, like banana, chia seeds, and strawberries. The other is one is called The Super Green, where we add kale and spinach. It also has almond milk instead of coconut water.
MSL: Skillman, Queens Blvd, or Greenpoint Ave?
E: I have to say Skillman!
MSL: One word to describe Sunnyside:
Thank you, Eric for a great chat!
Follow and visit Cooldown Juice, tell them I sent you!
39-11 47th Ave. Sunnyside, NY: Open Monday – Friday, 8:00am-7pm (Delivery 8am-7pm)
Saturday & Sunday, 9am-7pm (Delivery 9am-7pm)
48-19 Skillman Ave. Sunnyside, NY: Open Monday – Friday, 7:30am-8pm
Saturday & Sunday, 9am-8pm