There are a lot of new faces around here, so allow me to introduce myself. I’m Naomi. I’ve been the constant force behind The Pittsburgh Juice Company since its inception. Like so many of us, this isn’t where I thought I’d be professionally in my mid-thirties. But as a young adult who graduated from architecture school into the burnt out economy resulting from the 2008 recession, I quickly learned to be adaptable. I had the opportunity to become a Peace Corps Volunteer (a longtime dream) and, three years later, when I came home to Pittsburgh, found that: 1. my career path was not as clear cut as it once seemed and 2. my interests had outgrown the entry-level positions I was qualified for in favor of a greater purpose; something I could pour all my energy into and truly believe in.
And thus, at the intersection of lifestyle, passion, opportunity and good timing, The Pittsburgh Juice Company was born. Our name, “bland, institutional and lofty” [I first thought] would prove to become the foundation of who we are. PJC has never been Naomi’s Juice Joint. The idea has always transcended me as an individual and transcended any notion of being cool or trendy. Our logo calls upon “Old Pittsburgh” and was designed with reference to an ornate apothecary bottle; drawing from the concept that food is the ultimate medicine. Yes, our name comes off as institutional, and that’s exactly the point. What we sought to build in 2013 was a small and reliable institution of easily accessible nutrition and products that promote wellness; void of any overly personal, political, religious or organized affiliation. The premise is that there are plenty of things in this world that drive people apart. Let our juice be one thing that can bring people together in the uncompromised name of health. Let the product speak for itself.
“We are The Pittsburgh Juice Company and we make fresh, organic, cold-pressed juice! Drink it and, if you enjoy it, come back for more! You can count on us to be here every single day to help facilitate that.”
Over the years, we’ve grown and we’ve changed. We’ve learned and improved. We’ve had growth spurts during which we’ve become disorganized and then organized ourselves again, only to be faced with unprecedented challenges that would inevitably set us back, before innovating and becoming organized and stable once more... And that’s business, particularly small business, as I’ve come to understand and grown to accept. In many ways, too, it’s just life. Does anyone else feel like life is constantly challenging them with the question “Can you adapt?”
I’ve always admired the sort of person with solid goals and ambitions who sticks to a carefully formed plan over time, despite sudden obstacles and messy intrusions along the way. I, on the other hand, am a person whose character has been formed by winds of chance sweeping me through life and altering the path of where I’m headed, as I do my best to ride the waves and make the most of what lies before me.
Here, in the eye of the storm that is the Covid-19 pandemic, I find myself oddly at ease in the uncertainty. Do I have serious concerns about the future? Yes. Would I like to know how all this pans out? Of course. But in the meantime, I have an incredible staff and many amazing customers to take care of. I also have a lot more learning and adapting to do and much to accomplish by late June, when my first child is due to make his debut in this world.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about PJC’s origins. I’ll be following up soon with similar stories about the company culture we’ve developed over time and our fundamental mission.
All the best in health and happiness!