By Lisa Balschunat
Six years ago, Cristina Hanchett took a chance on a small South Street storefront to open her business, the Juicin’ Jar.
The menu was packed with healthy blender and juice drinks, wraps, salad and what has become the establishment’s famous waffles.
“When we opened in Glens Falls we also had a place in Lake George,” Hanchett said. “Things were happening downtown and we wanted to be a part of it.”
In 2016, the Juicin’ Jar moved into the small café space within Milk and Honey, 16 Exchange St., and most recently absorbed the inventory and first floor of the previous gift shop that closed.
“We will continue to offer some items that Milk and Honey carried, like the local honey, teas, bath soaps, lotions and greeting cards,” she said.
“My sister, Nicole, and I opened this business to support our community on a path to a healthier lifestyle,” Hanchett stated. “We use all fresh ingredients and purchase as much from local sources as possible. With our expansion we will now be a café, market and gift shop.
“We are so excited to introduce our organic food market section. We will have flour, sugar, grains, seeds, beans, peanut butters and jams … produce, eggs, cheese and milk from local farms,” said Nicole Laubenheimer, Juicin’ Jar business manager.
The gift shop will carry kitchenware, aprons and yoga items, as well.
Laubenheimer said the café also is expanding its baked good offerings.
“We’ve hired a part-time pastry chef to bake doughnuts, pies, cakes, gluten free options and special holiday pastries,” she said.
Susan Duncan was recently hired as a part-time clerk. She was previously a buyer for the Glens Falls Food Co-Op for four years.
When COVID-19 struck in March, Hanchett said she closed the Juicin’ Jar doors to have time to digest the state requirements and guidelines. Once she and her staff were comfortable, she created a “to go” option, with fare wrapped in food containers.
Hanchett operated the café with limited hours and revised the menu.
The business was afforded some relief through the Payroll Protection Program (PPP).
“Everyone was unsure at the start, but we figured it out,” Hanchett said. “We still have to live life and function as a business.”
Laubenheimer indicated that renovations to the additional 1,500 square feet have been ongoing for several weeks. The kitchen and seating capacity have been expanded and a window bar is being installed. The walls will continue to showcase local artist’s work.
The café has partnered with Door Dash to provide customers a delivery option, and this autumn it will continue to offer outdoor seating as long as the weather permits.
By Lisa Balschunat