It was a brisk and early Saturday morning when I got to InBloom Juicery, but there was already a line to order InBloom's fresh juices and energy-packed smoothie bowls. Despite the buzz, I was able to interview JR Ricker, InBloom Juicery owner, and learn more about the first juicery in the Bloomington area. 

The InBloom Juicery pop-up shop is open Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 9am - 2pm. You can pick up cold-pressed juices during The Fresh Fork's operating hours, too. 

How it got started: 

Joie Li

Spoon: What's the history of InBloom?

JR: We started out as a juicing company online. We started a website where people could buy weekly subscription of cold-pressed juices, it has minimal process so there’s less heat and less oxidation. We went from online to a push-cart that we took to Kirkwood and the farmer's Market, and then from there we talked to Stacy of the Fresh Fork and she was kind enough to allow us to use their space when they’re not in here. We rent out the space by the hour and we essentially have what we call our pop-up shop. It’s essentially just a shop that’s not here all the time. We’re doing smoothie bowls, both açaí and pitaya. Pitaya is dragon fruit, and we’re also doing cold press juice right now.

Spoon: When did you guys start?

JR: We started in May (2016) officially, but I’ve been working on getting this business going for 3 years now. It took a long time. You’ve got to pass through the Health Department, the city, you have to find an approved kitchen. We started officially May 1, so about 9 months. 

Why it popped up: 

Spoon: What inspired you to start InBloom Juicery?

JR: So all these guys with me, are on the track team now or were on the track team. I’ve just always been a really health conscious person and we traveled a lot across the country because of track and cross-country. I’ve always seen juice shops, that are like coffee shops in some of these places. So I thought, Bloomington's a pretty health-conscious city, and people always like supporting local, so it just made sense to me.

Spoon: What do you love most about working or creating your own company?

JR: When I started the business, it was just late hours of the night, just juicing. That eventually got pretty tiring, and I got pretty defeated for a while. I wasn’t sure if this is what I want to do. I like juicing, but not just by myself because it’s really reclusive. We started doing smoothie bowls, and I really like it because we started talking to the customers. We try to have conversations to learn about how they heard about us, what they’re doing with their lives. Probably talking to the customers is my favorite part about starting a business.

What to order: 

Spoon: What’s your favorite thing that InBloom makes?

JR: My favorite thing is the pitaya bowl. It’s a thicker smoothie that is blended with pitaya, which is dragon fruit, pineapple, banana, and then we top it with granola and a couple other superfoods like blueberries, raspberries, pomegranate seeds and it’s probably one of fan favorites as well. It’s a very vibrant pink color, so if you go on our Instagram page and see vibrant smoothies, that’s our pitaya bowl.

Spoon: What do customers love? 

JR: Juice wise we have the Local Love, which has a lot of greens, kale, spinach, apple, pear, cucumber, celery, lemon, and lime, so it’s a good combination between fruits and vegetables. It’s a fan-favorite green juice. We also have Beach Bum in the summer time, and that’s just watermelon and lime. People just love it, it’s very refreshing. Obviously, these açaí bowls and pitaya bowls are kind of a fad right now, so we’ve been able to have a lot of success with the smoothie bowls. 

How it operates: 

Spoon: How have you been marketing your business?

JR: We market almost all through social media. We’re a pretty low-budget company... We started with nothing, so we spend most of our time marketing on Instagram because about 90% of our market is college-aged students, and obviously most of them have Instagram accounts. Our follower count has gone from 200 to about 700 in the past couple months, so we’ve been pushing that pretty hard... We also go to different sororities in town, and we’ll go to chapter meetings every week and offer free samples. Sororities are a really big hit for us right now, so I would say doing events like that and social media are our two big mediums. 

Spoon: What is InBloom Juicery and the Fresh Fork’s relationship?

JR: Our relationship is that we both are small businesses in Bloomington, we both started around the same time 6 to 8 months ago and we both just had the same dream to create a small business in Bloomington. They started the grab-and-go meals, and we just started grab-and-go juice. When I’m not here, I can go online and see that we sold some juice ... They’re not always in here and we both can’t afford to have employees 24/7, but they can afford to have employees half the time and we can afford the other half so it’s just a really good partnership in that regard.

Where it's going: 

Spoon: Where do you think the juicery is headed in the future?JR: We are going to stay here for a little while since it’s working out really well. We do a similar business with the smoothies and the juice, where people come and pick it up just like they do with their food. We’re looking to get into our own space, hopefully on Kirkwood, or getting our own food truck. There’s really no healthy food truck in town, and my cousin actually owns the Big Cheeze. Chad Sutor’s his name, and I talk to him on a daily basis about where I could go with the business, and he’s given me a lot of great advice. I’m going to say 50/50 on the food truck or storefront border, but I can’t tell you right now.

For now, it looks like InBloom isn't going anywhere. So treat yourself to a cold-pressed juice or vitamin-packed smoothie bowl the next time you're out and exploring the Bloomington food scene. It's the perfect blend of something sweet and something healthy.