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Justin & Lisa Bey - Alkalicious

Justin and Lisa founded Alkalicious Juice Bar together in 2016. When they were in the early planning stages for their business, they sought out the mentorship of our Old Dominion University's Veterans Business Outreach Center and participated in the SBA Boots to Business Program. It was through this program and ongoing mentorship from our ODUVBOC that they were able to flesh out their business plan using all the research they had compiled.

"Lisa and Justin Bey are the epitome of what it takes to launch and grow a successful small business; there is no doubt their sense of dedication, perseverance, determination and flat out refusal to give up was forged into their minds and hearts through their years of challenge and fortitude. Thereby...success for them was a dream destined to become reality" -Cherylynn Sagester, MM, Certified Business Advisor, Director ODU Veterans Business Outreach Center

Alkalicious is a Veteran, African American, and woman-owned independent small business that is 100% plant-based, serving juices, smoothies, smoothie bowls, hot soups, and grilled sandwiches. Justin is a disabled Veteran, which brought special challenges to their venture initially when it was just the two of them working as baristas. Now they have a team and Lisa oversees operations at the juice bar while navigating and advocating for Justin's mental health challenges. They have found that when Justin focuses on projects and physical store improvements it not only adds to the ambiance of their humble space, but it also keeps Justin grounded, providing him peace of mind. Over the last 3+ years, he has been building everything you see in their store, workstations, banquet seating, an outdoor picnic table, digital menu boards, and a bar with stools to transform their little spot into a gem. Between both of them, a LOT of love goes into this spot, their product, their customers, and their team.

Their first couple of years were incredibly challenging. Alkalicious first struggled to get the word out. Their storefront is set back between two businesses, so it is easy to miss. As the only mom & pop business in their plaza, their logo does not appear yet on the sign at the plaza entry and on several occasions, neighboring businesses closed causing reduced foot traffic.

One by one, Lisa and Justin taught the team members and community about the benefits of adding more plant-based options into their diets and they have been changing lives and lifestyles ever since! What began as just juices and smoothies grew to a full menu. They added meal prep and vegan cooking classes to their repertoire. As of today, out of 99 reviews on Facebook, they have a 5 Rating with positive comments about service, cleanliness, and products. Lisa spent a lot of time out in the community and working on marketing efforts.

Word finally spread and 2019 was a banner year with a growth of over 30% in sales. You can imagine how excited they were for 2020! They were expanding staff in preparation to scale up the business! Well, when COVID-19 happened, Alkalicious experienced an alarming drop in sales as people stayed home or assumed Alkalicious would be closed.

Lisa did not throw up her arms and quit she rolled up her sleeves! She made sure no matter what she paid her team first, reducing them each by one day per week. With assistance from a local organization and friends, Alkalicious provided meals for volunteers who fed kids at a local high school and also provided juices to nurses at a local hospital. They allowed takeout / pick up with safe practices and extra precautions. They added online ordering and are working on adding a delivery option. They collaborate with other businesses and are taking advantage of any specials they encounter for radio, television commercials, online promotion, banners, yard signs, etc.

Even checking off all the boxes of having a solid business plan, being veteran, minority and woman-owned, great credit, etc- they found that it was challenging to try to get the attention of a lender. Advised by the ODUVBOC they interviewed five banks big and small and found that larger banks (including a credit union they had used for years and paid off their car with) assumed they had Alkalicious' business already. They presumed they were interviewing Lisa and Justin, and Alkalicious did not seem "big enough" to them for personalized service, interest, and attention. After that Lisa and Justin just felt like a number which the ODUVBOC cautioned that may happen. They then reached out to a branch manager, Sabrina Davis at Fulton Bank, which they chose for their payroll, expense and merchant accounts, business credit cards and merchant provider who was very enthusiastic about their mission. She also helped facilitate their relationship with a second bank EVB (now Sonabank), where the SBA representative sat down with them and discussed their plans. They provided them with a $20K loan for their opening equipment.

"The knowledgeable and experienced team at the ODU Veteran's Business Outreach Center has been such a huge part of our success. They have guided us throughout the planning and opening phases from business plan review to using the WheelGrowth (r) concept for diving deep into topics. To this day Don Miller and Cherylynn Sagester still call to check on us and we often call on them for information and resources." - Lisa & Justin Bey, Alkalicious

People are starting to venture out and return to Alkalicious. The idea, Lisa says, is to come out of this crisis stronger, continuing to brand their message for health and wellness and striving toward their ultimate goal of one day becoming a franchise.

Website: www.alkaliciousjuice.com
Facebook: www.fb.com/alkaliciousjuice
Instagram: www.instagram.com/alkaliciousjuice
Twitter: www.twitter.com/AlkaliciousJB

733 Eden Way N Ste #402
Chesapeake VA 23320
ph 757-698-4430