GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A juice bar in Grand Rapids that expanded to the YMCA is working to support other local businesses.
Malamiah Juice Bar was founded in 2013 by Jermale Eddie and his wife and is co-owned by Randy Otterbridge and Kris mathis. It offers juices, smoothies and other healthy foods at Studio Park, and opened its second location last summer at the David D. Hunting YMCA, located near the intersection on Lake Michigan Drive near US-131.
The couple started on their journey after watching the documentary, “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.”
“We decided that that would be a business that we think we could get behind and have a product that we feel good about selling,” Eddie said.
Eddie has a background in higher education, nonprofits and working in ministry, but he joked his qualification of running the business is being a consumer of juice and smoothies.
He and his wife wanted to address health disparities in the Black community while partnering with other organizations and offering tasty products.
“Fast forward a little bit, we realized that (reducing health disparities) was going to be a huge undertaking, that one business may not have the ability to solve a large issue like that in a large situation like that, so we decided that we would be best to partner with other organizations that also share … that same passion,” Eddie said. “And then our other goal was to make healthy taste good.”
The juice bar prioritizes local produce and offers products from other local companies, including granola bars from The Goddess Granola, trail mix from Ferris Coffee and cold brew from Last Mile Cafe, a Black- and woman-owned cafe that opened up in Grand Rapids in December.
Eddie said the hope is for the organizations to “grow together,” and one of their priorities “is to work with small businesses to take them along on the journey.”
“What’s good for us is good for them,” he said. “Our hope is that someone may not have heard of a particular business and by having their products here, someone can discover like, ‘Oh wow, this is now become one of my go-to favorite places to get granola.’ Or, ‘I can go get a cold brew or a hot latte or something from the Last Mile Cafe. But I was originally introduced to that product at Malamiah Juice Bar.'”
The name is a combination of the couple’s three sons: Malachi, Nehemiah and Josiah. Eddie said his sons love the juice bar and are proud of it.
The fresh-made juices and smoothies include the ‘Family Reunion,’ with strawberry, raspberry, banana, coconut milk, yogurt and agave, and the ‘Cocoa Elvis,’ with banana, peanut butter, cocoa powder, almond milk, yogurt and agave.
“That’s really a crowd favorite,” Eddie said.
Malamiah’s sister brand, Malamazing Juce Company, also sells juices at local locations like Meijer, Corewell Health (formally Spectrum Health) and Fresh Thyme Market. It also offers juice cleanses and detox programs, which Eddie said floods the body with nutrition.
The community — both at the YMCA and throughout Grand Rapids — has had a great response to the juice bar, Eddie said.
“I believe that our community wants to see entrepreneurs grow and succeed and want to see us expand our borders,” he said.