Shop Local Spotlight- Alkalicious
Updated: Dec 5, 2020
Words by Moriah Joy. Images courtesy of Alkalicious.
For many people, COVID-19 has impacted their way of life very differently. Many people are out of work, some are working from home and some continued working with major alterations to their business. With many small businesses unable to survive or struggling to get back on their feet, here at Spotlight, we are passionate about giving a platform to local small businesses. For this series, we will regularly feature a different small business in Hampton Roads and share their story. (Editor’s note: Want to be featured? Email us!)
This week I had the pleasure of sitting down with the owner of Alkalicious, which is a juice bar and plant-based grill located in the Greenbriar area of Chesapeake. Lisa Glapion-Bey is the wife of a Navy veteran who enjoys sharing the benefits of healthy living while always trying to find new ways to experiment with plant-based meals full of bold flavors. She had the idea for opening the juice bar while she was on deployment with her husband. They helped fellow sailors and friends reach personal goals with simple modifications in diet. It was during one of many vegan dinners they were serving to friends that Lisa floated the idea to open a juice bar one day.
“So I went to my husband and said, ‘When we get back home we should open a juice bar.’ And he was like, ‘Yes! Let’s do it!’ during the dinner. Which was a little surprising because typically big talks like starting a business would involve a sit down and talking it out together but he was just as excited as I was.”
In May of 2016, they began planning and figuring out the details necessary to make their business a success. Part of the planning for the restaurant included Lisa studying raw and alkaline nutrition and becoming a Certified Wellness Counselor and Certified Personal Trainer. In October of 2016, they were able to open their doors and start helping members of the community achieve their health goals. Initially their business had started out serving only juices and smoothies, focusing on exposing the benefits of plant-based living to meet the demands of various goals the customers had set for themselves. Most of their customers would come in for lunch to grab a juice or a smoothie and then would go to another restaurant to grab a sandwich or other food to accompany their drink. After seeing this, they decided to add plant-based food to their menu and offer vegan meal prep.
“We really want to help people no matter where they are in their healthy living journey. Whether it’s experimenting with clean living or serving a variety of dietary goals such as keto or vegan. We’ve also been able to help people who experience different health issues such as diabetes, cancer, weight loss, high blood pressure and so much more.”
For Lisa, growing her business she has encountered and overcome many obstacles but has found that in whatever challenge arose organization was the key to get through it. After her and husband came back from deployment, they found that her husband was having difficulties running the business with her due to mental health hardships. These were made more prominent when the store opened, leaving Lisa to run the store by herself.
“Wearing so many different hats is probably the most challenging aspect of running a small business. It’s like having a meeting by yourself where you are every department and thinking ‘Okay so we have payroll, and then we should hire some more people, oh but then we should probably be training this person more.’ Some days my to-do lists seem never ending. But it’s always important to just be task orientated.”
Alkalicious has been fortunate enough that they didn’t have to close their doors completely during quarantine and made the proper adjustments to keep both patrons and their employees safe. They began rotating staff so that the shop had limited people and no one lost their job then moved to take-out only. Due to initial quarantine, there was a lot of time spent figuring out how to take the right precautions. However, the past two weeks business has been starting to pick back up.
“We were worried because it took us all of those three years to build the customer base that we have but thankfully we still had our loyal customers during shut down. Even on the days when we aren’t busy [with orders], we’re still busy with additional procedures. Sanitizing and cleaning everything, making sure that we’re paying attention to the online orders. It’s taken a bit to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible.”
Lisa’s passion for healthy living is extremely apparent in not only the way that she talks about her business but the empathy she has for her customers and their journeys. During the stay-at-home orders, she helped many customers focus on building their immune systems, prevent mucus buildup, and show people that they can do detoxes and still feel satisfied and enjoy the flavors. For her it’s also one of the most rewarding aspects of her job when customers who have been struggling with various health issues come back saying they have a clean bill of health.
One of the unique aspects of Alkalicious is that Lisa offers consultations for health guidance and nutrition to help people be able to personalize their goals. She wants her customers to know that plant-based food is delicious and that they work very hard to go out of their way to make it flavorful and guilt free. As of yesterday since the state has moved into Phase 3, Alkalicious now offers pick-up, take-out, and dine-in. They are currently working towards a delivery option.