Today we’d like to introduce you to Heather Stevenson.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Heather. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I started Thirst in 2014 as a way of merging my passions for health and great food in my home city.
Prior to founding Thirst, I was a securities litigator at a large law firm in New York City. While I enjoyed my job, I realized that it wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. A lifelong runner and vegetarian, during my time as a lawyer and before, I regularly used juices, smoothies, and acai bowls to fuel my long runs. I realized that while there are many many juice bars in Manhattan, there were none in Boston, where I grew up. The combination of my love of delicious healthful food and the Boston area market gap convinced me and my husband, Chris that starting a juice bar in Boston was an excellent opportunity. We decided that because juice is so new to the area, in addition to selling really great plant-based food and drink, we’d also work hard to educate our community on the connection between what we eat and how we feel.
We opened Thirst’s first location in November 2014, and our first winter was Boston’s snowiest and coldest in decades. The challenge was a blessing in disguise, because during those first few slower months, we were able to refine our processes and train our team. By the summer of 2015, we were off and running and had become a popular breakfast and lunch destination for the people working in nearby offices. Our menu is entirely plant-based and gluten-free, but our customers are people with a wide variety of dietary habits. Since we opened, we’ve continued experimenting with new recipes and food types in Boston, as well as hosting numerous educational and community building events, like Smoothie Bowl Brunches where participants decorate their own smoothie bowls, and Sip & Learns, where outside speakers discuss relevant health topics.
Almost two years to the day after we opened our first store, we opened our second location in Wellesley, MA. It’s a totally different store and experience, where customers tend to have more time to linger, so we’re adding seating and we offer a more extensive food menu.
Through both stores, we’ve loved getting to know our customers and exposing them to delicious, accessible, plant-based food. Chris has now returned to practicing law but remains a co-owner, while I run Thirst.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
There have certainly been challenges along the way. During the buildouts for both of our stores, we experienced unexpected delays forcing us to open months later than we’d hoped to; we’d hoped to open each store in the early fall (Boston in 2014 and Wellesley in 2016), and instead opened them in November. Our first winter was also a brutal one in terms of weather! It was cold and so snowy that sometimes our wholesale trucks couldn’t get through with deliveries, and other days, our team couldn’t safely make it to the store, so we had to close. While we’d planned for things to go differently, I now appreciate the November openings and the first cold winter as a blessing in disguise; by the time the warm weather arrived and the huge crowds came with it, we were well prepared to offer excellent and fast customer service.
Please tell us about Thirst Juice Co.
Thirst Juice Co. is a gluten-free, vegan, juice and smoothie bar that also serves a wide variety of plant-based meals and snacks. In addition to serving food, we work hard to educate our customers and community about the significant impact of food choices on our wellness and on the planet.
We are known for making healthful plant-based food accessible to people with a wide variety of taste preferences. Our juices and smoothie range from quite sweet, to not sweet at all and vegetable heavy, and are made without added sugars (the sweetness comes from fruit!). You won’t find us using juice as the base for our smoothies because it adds sugar, and the added fiber in a smoothie makes the juice less nutritionally impactful, nor will you find dairy in any of our smoothies both for health reasons and because reducing dairy consumption benefits the planet. We also offer customers the opportunity to customize their juices and smoothies, and we can help them figure out appropriate customizations based on individual preferences.
We are also known for helping people learn more about how what they eat matters. Through our blog, in store events, and corporate workshops, we teach people how food choices make a difference – and how to make great choices whether they’re at Thirst, at home, or even at another juice bar.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
There are too many to pick just one! I was fortunate to travel extensively as a child with my parents and grandmother. I LOVED traveling and still do. Unsurprisingly, two of the memories that stand out the most involve adventure and food. First, we went on a trip to Alaska where we were able to kayak around fjords. I remember being completely in awe of their natural beauty, and feeling so very small. My love for the outdoors and awe of nature continues, and I felt the same way nearly two decades later climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro with my Mom. Second, as my grandmother got older, we often went on cruises as it was an easy way for all of us to see the world and move between cities. We typically went in late August, which overlapped with my birthday. My favorite dessert on the ships was Baked Alaska, but it was usually only served one night the whole cruise. But because I was young and our waiters were so nice, they always found a way to have it for me on my birthday too. It’s funny how that memory of really great service (and emotional attachment to food) has stuck with me, and I love when I can make our Thirst customers feel that happy by creating the drink or food that is just what they wanted.
- Address: 44 School Street
Boston, MA 02108
41 Grove Street
Wellesley, MA 02482
- Website: www.thirstjuiceco.com
- Phone: (857) 233-4535 (Boston) and (781) 591-8189 (Wellesley)
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @thirstjuiceco
- Facebook: facebook.com/thirstjuiceco
- Twitter: @thirstjuiceco
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/thirst-juice-co-boston