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The Juice Bar Norwood - VisitingNewEngland small business partnership - Local Small Business Stories

The Juice Bar Norwood Nourishes Dining Scene in Norwood, Mass.

Marcieli Pastorio, owner of The Juice Bar Norwood in Norwood, Mass.
Marcieli Pastorio, owner of The Juice Bar Norwood Photo credit: The Juice Bar Norwood.

Article and photos (unless otherwise noted) by Eric Hurwitz created for VisitingNewEngland.com on 11/14/2021. Find us on Twitter: @newenglandinfo

Upon first taste, it's quite clear that The Juice Bar Norwood in Norwood, Mass. raises the bar for smoothies, acai bowls and sandwiches.

The smoothies take on a three-dimensional taste where every fruit can be tasted individually and as a whole when combined -- like the
Fruits & Oats Smoothie with banana, strawberry, blueberry, oats, peanut butter and almond milk.

Fruits and oats smoothie from The Juice Bar, Norwood, Mass.
Fruits and Oats Smoothie.
Photo credit: The Juice Bar Norwood.

The Acai Bowl tastes like a jazzed-up farmers market in a bowl with the dominant fresh fruit taste showing wonderful compatibility with the usual beloved suspects like oats, shredded coconut and peanut butter.

Acai bowl from The Juice Bar Norwood in Norwood, Mass.
Acai Bowl.

On a personal level, the chicken that's featured in sandwiches reaches the near impossible by attaining the magically tender, flavorful and incomparable chicken that my grandmother used to make (
but would never reveal the recipe) on a leisurely Sunday afternoon. Until now and many decades later, I hadn't tasted anything as good but The Juice Bar Norwood changed all that.

Chicken wrap with avocado and mozzarella cheese from The Juice Bar Norwood in Norwood, Mass.
Grilled Chicken marinated in pesto, avocado, tomato & mozzarella cheese on a whole wheat tortilla.

These are just a few examples of what comes out of a modest kitchen from a humble owner and several dedicated women employees. What's more, the made-fresh-upon-ordering pledge clearly isn't just marketing jargon. Rather, it's the spirited and joyous result of Juice Bar Norwood's owner Marcieli Pastorio's commitment to having a mastery over her chosen profession and all the painstaking details that have come with the efforts.

Juice bars continue to pop up nationwide to conveniently and quickly meet the needs of those seeking healthier food and drink selections as an alternative to a bloated fast food society. The problem is, however, that many of these juice bars follow a paint-by-numbers approach, just meeting the needs instead of exceeding them. What's more, the healthy juice bar items can often take an unhealthy turn as some owners get into the business as hobbyists instead of experts of their chosen profession. This can result in indistinct drink combinations that impede the intended balance and symphony of healthful, great-tasting ingredients blended into one.

Marcieli, on the other hand, takes her job very seriously, knowing that The Juice Bar Norwood isn't just a job. It's a way of life. Although she never completed her associates degree in college, Marcieli through her own self-learning process possesses a PhD in the art and science of creating healthy drinks and food served quickly. Years ago, she became obsessed with wanting to open a juice bar (more on that shortly), studied the profession like a student striving for a 4.0 grade point average and came up with precise combinations of juices and smoothies instead of throwing everything in the concoctions hoping for the best. As a music analogy, Marcieli's food and drink creations are a Stradivarius compared to a banjo.

Fresh juices from The Juice Bar, Norwood, Mass.
Fresh juices from The Juice Bar Norwood.
Photo credit: The Juice Bar Norwood.

The Benefits of Hard Work and Sense of Community Within a Small Business

Marcieli Pastorio stands in front of her new Juice Bar location in Norwood, Massachusetts.
Marcieli in front of the new Juice Bar Norwood location.
Photo credit: The Juice Bar Norwood.

Marcieli often works 13 hours a day. Each and every minute counts to survive as a small business owner, including food preparation, working with vendors and staff, and getting to know the diverse clientèle's arriving at the Juice Bar Norwood. She calls many customers by first name and they reciprocally do the same. Within an hour span on this given day, town workers, private sector employees, moms, construction workers, athletes and students line up in eager anticipation of being nourished through healthy food and drink choices.

While Marcieli speaks three different languages -- English, Spanish and Portuguese -- the universal language of good food, drink and social interaction serve as key foundations at The Juice Bar Norwood. It's ultimately a place where the spotless bright environs, customer and staff interaction and delicious juices all flow in unison.

Creating juices at The Juice Bar Norwood in Norwood, Mass.
Creating fresh juice.

The sense of community and camaraderie reveals a modern day, healthier version of a diner where connections amongst employees and customers are just as important as the food and drink served.

"It’s such a wonderful community café," said customer Lori Amicangelo Winer. "The atmosphere and employees are as incredible as the bowls and smoothies. Everyone knows you and greets you with a warm smile. The bowls are the best I’ve ever had…. fresh, vibrant, and absolutely delicious!

The smallish storefront space contrasts with the big-time efforts that Marcieli and crew make to ensure The Juice Bar Norwood keeps evolving as a successful business.
For example, The Juice Bar goes through 80 pounds of chicken ever other week, painstakingly cleaning and seasoning it and several other steps that involve made-from scratch food. Vendors bring in fresh fruit four times a week. Two hundred pounds of bananas are used within that seven day timespan. This commitment to excellence goes on and on for all the right reasons.

Bananas ready to be used at The Juice Bar in Norwood, Mass.
Bananas on display, ready to be used.

"We do not compromise on anything," said Marcieli. "It's all fresh. We are trying to make this a healthy fast food style place. Everything is made in house and nothing is pre-made."

Fortunately, Marcieli has seen that noble, ambitious small business concept grow beyond her wildest dreams. She took over the Central Market in South Norwood in 2013 and then opened the Juice Bar as part of the store in 2018. A "fruitful" success, Marcieli looked to expand the business to a new location.

It happened in an unlikely place. Last year, the highly successful SPoT! Bagels found a larger space for its highly successful business right up the street and Marcieli saw an opportunity to move downtown. She took the keys from SPoT! Bagels owner Perry Makarios on Jan. 4, 2021 and opened the current location at 20 Broadway on March 17. Many wondered, however, how that would work out. The former SPoT! location seemed so crammed with products and crowded with people that there was barely an inch to navigate.

"When I first walked in here, it was like a party in my head, a vision," said Marcieli. "I could see the possibilities and knew it could be a beautiful and efficient place to do business. I had an architect take that vision and turn it into a reality."

The inside story of The Juice Bar in Norwood, Mass.
Inside of The Juice Bar.

The new look of The Juice Bar in Norwood, Mass.
Bright interior, attractive space.
Photo credit: The Juice Bar Norwood.

"Love it!" said Marcieli, of the dine-in and takeout location. "We are very happy with the way it turned out."

Window seats at The Juice Bar in Norwood, Mass.
Window counter and seats at The Juice Bar Norwood.

Prepping for a Small Business

Prepping produce for a smoothie at The Juice Bar in Norwood, MA.
Prep work.

Long story short: Marcieli first thought seriously of opening a juice bar after a trip to Aruba. While many visit this beautiful tropical destination for the sunny weather and pristine beaches, Marcieli also felt inspired by a visit to a juice market there for the first time.

"I had done daily juicing at home but after visiting this place in Aruba, I said, 'I am going to open up a juice bar!'" enthused Marcieli. "I researched for a month and maxed out all my credit cards to start the business. I didn't know a thing about marketing. It was all from scratch."

This, she decided was her calling:
being to help people eat and stay healthy.

It all made sense. Growing up in Brazil's Amazon, Marcieli saw her parents (pictured below with Marcieli) at one point decide to get healthier and lose weight -- thus setting a positive role model. Marci also benefited from seeing her parents' hard work ethic. Marcieli's mom owned a supermarket and later became an aesthetician. Her dad worked as a geriatric orthomolecular specialist and was a seventh day adventist (who typically eat a healthy diet).

"They both had a positive influence on me," said Marcieli. "My mom, she was the biggest teacher in my life...she led by example and I was being taught that every obstacle that comes your way... the day-to-day challenges -- can be overcome by staying focused, making the right decisions and working hard."

Marcieli Pastorio with her mom and dad at The Juice Bar in Norwood, MA.That's not to say, however, that Marcieli had it easy. Marcieli did attend college with dreams of becoming a policewoman but did not complete her associates degree required to enter the field. She married, later divorced and along the way became a dedicated stay-at home mom to two children.

Through life's twists and turns, Marcieli, however, found a true soul mate by meeting John Rooney, a Norwood native and policeman. They fell in love, married and have together laid down their roots in Norwood. John knew Norwood well; Marcieli had some catching up to do but landed in a town she has come to love.

True to Norwood form, locals supported Marcieli and her dreams. Marcieli said that Charlotte Walsh at Charles River Running in downtown Norwood played an important role in helping Marcieli launch The Juice Bar with marketing/business tips and sending customers her way. The health-oriented nature of the running shop provided a great nexus between the two businesses. Jen Palmer, at Universal Power Yoga, in Norwood allowed Marcieli to offer sample juices at her business and it went beyond well.

"They embraced me," said Marcieli. "They didn't first know me but liked what I offered. It was women helping women -- a match made in heaven."

Having All the Right Ingredients to Succeed

Fresh ingredients from The Juice Bar Norwood in Norwood, Mass.
Ingredients for a healthy drink, a healthy business.
Photo credit: The Juice Bar Norwood.

Seeing the fruits of her labor become reality, Marcieli has truly found a recipe for small business success. Like all good businesspeople, however, Marcieli is not just content to keep things status quo.

"We are in the process of becoming a franchise," said Marcieli. "We will keep this (Norwood) location as out base but will have a mobile (operation) for Acai Bowls and then we will have the (concept of) The Juice Bar become restaurants. We hope to get things going in about a year."

  Marci Pastorio at The Juice Bar in Norwood, Mass.
Marcieli and three Juice Bar Norwood drinks. Photo credit: The Juice Bar Norwood.

For Marcieli, living the American Dream became a reality with perserverance, gratitude and God's blessings serving as the ultimate ingredients for nourishment.

.
"When you start something and don’t give up when the hard times comes your way.. when you fight for something that you know it’s your calling.. when you see how that small idea became something BIG… when you encounter someone who has been impacted by that idea and they tell you 'Thank You for keeping me healthy!' Or 'Your smoothies and bowls are the only thing I can eat during my pregnancy!' It makes me smile and feel grateful. Grateful for God’s unending blessings over my life and the lives of my team, over each life that walks through the door!

The Juice Bar Norwood is located at 20 Broadway in Norwood, MA. Tel. 781-255-5539. Web site: https://www.thejuicebarnorwood.com. Email: the juicebarnorwood@gmail.com.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thejuicebarnorwood. Instagram. DoorDash ordering: https://order.online/business/the-juice-bar-norwood-852476. Hours: Monday through Friday, 7 a.m.-6p.m. Saturday, 8 a.m. -5 p.m. Closed on Sunday.

Additional reading:
This Walpole, Mass. restaurant serves the most delicious South Shore bar pizza
Finding a wonderful old school candy house southwest of Boston
Experiencing the ultimate neighborhood market in Milford, Mass.
Discovering a special locally-owned doughut shop in Millis, Mass.
The sweet and savory pies are beyond delicious at this storefront in Norton, Mass.


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