Who says delicious food can’t be healthy? Juicery Rx sells apothecary-inspired drinks and edibles that offer nutritional health benefits to its customers. Here’s how credit cards played a key role in the business’s success and now expansion.
What you consume certainly has an effect on your overall enjoyment of life – but does it have the power to heal what ails you? Moreover, can you develop a thriving business out of it?
Kimmi Stultz, co-founder of Juicery Rx, says yes to both. The retail shop sells apothecary-inspired drinks and edibles, all of which have demonstrated nutritional health benefits that work hard for a body’s biochemistry.
Stultz is a pharmacist, and she developed her wide array of products when she was battling an autoimmune disease.
“I have huge passion for this business,” says Stultz. “Because of my disease, I have to eat the right food, but going out for meals was tough. Restaurants were making me feel very sick and I realized that most of them don’t use high quality ingredients. Juicery Rx came out of that. I wanted to create a space for people who are interested in healthy eating. It needed to be trustworthy and transparent, with everything being safe and high quality. That’s what we do.”
In 2016, Stultz launched her first Juicery Rx in Coral Springs, Florida. She just opened her second location in the neighboring town of Weston in December 2019. Today, Stultz has about 50 employees – and she’s not stopping. To bring the concept to the world at large, she just started franchising opportunities.
While Stultz is on the fast track to success, it never would have happened had it not been for a few credit cards.
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How did you start Juicery Rx?
When we opened the Coral Springs store, there were a lot of hardships. We originally hired a food scientist to create the menu, but we went over budget. So, we had to do tons of DYI projects. That meant we did everything, from the painting to the lighting, ourselves. We had to conserve money.
In the end, though, it cost about 50% more than what I budgeted. To make it work, I cashed in my 401(k). I was committed!
My husband got involved, too. We brought in people from the community and they helped with decorations, and a local artist did the mural. Our stores are truly for the community. We support them and they support us – that’s what we believe in.
Still, the first day was awful! It was so nerve-wracking. There was a line out the door. We ran out of everything, including produce, and I was making substitutions for the recipes. When I closed the doors that night, I cried for two hours.
Afterward, an important community leader told me it was a disaster – but said if I could turn it around, I’d be successful because the community loves what we’re doing.
Did any specific costs catch you off guard?
Oh, yes. The air conditioning wasn’t working in the space I rented. If we didn’t fix the problem, we would have to deal with mold issues. However, the unit wasn’t included in our lease, so it was up to us to replace it. That was almost $30,000. Worse, it put construction back three to four months, and that delay ended up costing us another $30,000 to $40,000.
That experience was emotionally draining and put a strain on my relationships. Things like this can put you in a dark place. You’ll wonder if you’ll ever get out of it. I couldn’t have overcome it without a strong support system.
I understand you used credit cards for the business. In what way?
In the beginning, we tried not to use credit cards (because of ego). I thought I could do it all myself. But when the costs were creeping up, we had to be smart.
About midway through the project, we started to use them for the 30-day, interest-free grace period. The cards I use are the American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card, Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card, Capital One Platinum Credit Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
I started to charge everything we needed, like products, supplies and any work that needed to be done. There are all kinds of things that cost more than you’d expect – such as the cups for the smoothies that have our logo on them. The minimum order is 15,000! So, I used the cards to pay for the order.
So that was to launch – how do you use the cards now?
Honestly, we wouldn’t have a business if we didn’t have the credit cards. It’s much easier to use them and pay them off immediately, but we’re now charging more again because of the new location. Being debt-free is always the goal, but sometimes carrying over a balance is part of doing business. Why stress yourself out if you don’t have to?
Another great thing about the credit cards is that we use the rewards we accumulate for travel. We need to stay fresh in this industry, which means we have to go to conferences and be on top of the trends. Our rewards cards support this essential part of our business.
What are your plans for Juicery Rx?
We are trying to strengthen the second location before the franchising opportunities get going. It’s also important for us to have an online presence with branded products. We’re building that up – you can say that we’re in an exploratory phase!
Looking back, is there anything you wish you could do over?
Yes, mostly about organization. I wish we had brought someone in who could have streamlined our process better. Little things add up. A professional could have helped with getting us lower food costs so we could save more money.
As an owner, what have you learned about credit and borrowing money?
I learned that a credit card can make your vision a dream. It’s there to support you as a helper. Should you take advantage of a helper? No. You have to use it judiciously.
Repay what you borrowed and make all your payments on time. We get a lot of offers for credit now because that’s what we do. You have to keep your credit good because you’re going to need it.
Something else I learned was to make sure your partners’ credit is also good if they will be on the loan. We found out that one of our partners had bad credit when we needed to take out a loan for the second location. That became a problem.
In business partnerships, everyone’s credit history is important. The lender will check, so choose your partners carefully. You should know their finances and credit history.
See related: How to start a business partnership without hurting your finances
Any more advice for entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
You really have to know your audience – have a niche. Be prepared to stand out instead of making everyone your demographic. It’s important to focus on them, get their feedback and to continuously improve your product.
The Bank of America content was last updated on March 3, 2020.