Life In Every Drop - Organic Squeeze
The location is beautiful & bright—the wall-to-wall counter faces a number of tables and booths. Bold orange and green décor provides a splash of color without being outlandish. Motown hits (à la Marvin Gaye and the Jackson Five) bounce through the air. Life at Organic Squeeze is a little more easy-going than the outside world. Opening the door and walking inside is akin to immersing yourself in liquid sunshine. And that’s what juice is made of, right?
Co-Owner Robert Rhodes, a transplant from south Texas, still retains a little bit of the Texan twang, and his smile is infectious. His carefree demeanor almost masks the passion unveiled when he starts talking about juice. He is completely at home in the world of fresh produce, cold-pressed juice, and hand-crafted smoothies.
“I grew up on the standard Texas diet of steak and biscuits and gravy—you know, nothing green, no vegetables. Fruit? Nah. Just all packaged stuff,” says Rhodes of his childhood. But when various physical ailments kept returning, his parents sought the help of a holistic practitioner, who advocated for the addition of fresh juice to their diet.
“Back then, there weren’t juice recipes that tasted good. There was really just juicing carrots. That’s what it was. We had big mason jars in the refrigerator filled with carrot juice. Our palms turned orange from all the juice that we drank!”
Fast forward to when the Rhodes brothers moved to Oklahoma City—the juice industry here was practically nonexistent. “Juicing and drinking smoothies—that was a part of our lives for 15 years. We said, ‘We can do this, and we can do it right,’” Robert says with a grin. “We were doing recipe development: we had no reservations. We were all in. It wasn’t even in the back of our minds that this thing might not work.”
They haven’t looked back since. After independent laboratory testing, side-by-side comparisons, and innumerable hours of customer education & feedback, Organic Squeeze opened their Nichols Hills Plaza location in 2013. Hard work, preparation, and commitment to quality paid off: on the first day of business, they had a line all the way out the door.
OKC’s renowned juice and smoothie bar recently opened a second location in Midtown, just off of 10th Street and Walker Avenue. This second location, Organic Squeeze Kitchen Table, also offers their familiar juice and smoothie staples, but puts extra emphasis on a hot breakfast, lunch, & dinner bar as well as versatile grab-n-go items.
A great juice starts with great ingredients. All of Organic Squeeze’s produce is organic and when possible, local. In the beginning, though, sourcing local ingredients was a challenge. “The organic suppliers that were in the city couldn’t keep up with the demand. But we’re learning now, with other likeminded businesses in the city, organic produce is more readily available.” To keep their resolution to incorporate local produce, the Rhodes brothers are constantly on the lookout for Oklahoman farms eager to collaborate. They had just met with a new farm a few days before our visit.
“I’m happy to say that they’re going to be providing four ingredients of ours—all organic—and the good thing about this farm is that when they do a delivery, they pick the produce the night before, it gets on a truck, and we have it the next day. They’re going to be providing us with leafy greens, cucumbers, beets, and carrots. We’re working on a relationship with them. I love it! I cannot wait.”
As for Rhodes’ favorite part of being a small business owner in our great city, he most enjoys the other small business owners. “In Oklahoma City, it’s not competition with other business owners—it’s a community of support, and everyone’s willing to do whatever it takes to make sure everyone is successful. You would think it would be competition, but you don’t even get that vibe at all. Everyone’s so supportive, you know, ‘What are you doing? Is there anything we can do together? Let’s collaborate.’ And that’s the coolest thing about owning a business in this city.”