Today we’d like to introduce you to Chrissy Cox and Dawna Bass.
Chrissy and Dawna, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
2011 was a transformational year for us in many ways. We were both vegan, but that doesn’t automatically mean healthy. We were playing roller derby at the time, (which is where we met) and we were feeling great about the vegan lifestyle.
We just weren’t getting enough energy to balance out the endurance and strength we needed to sustain our active lifestyle. So we decided to experiment with the most nutrient dense, plant-based food. We began juicing up a storm in our small little along beach home. Through extensive research and a lot of taste-testing, we realized that cold-pressed juice was the most beneficial (and tasty) way to juice.
We also believe in using the whole plant and creating the least amount of waste, so we found creative ways to turn the pulp into raw, dehydrated snacks. It was a fun time, coming up with juice blends that had the maximum impact on our energy level and wellness, as well as creating super flavorful blends for specific benefits. Cold-pressed juice is created in small batches by squeezing all the goodness from the pulp, and we had so much juice we were literally overflowing with it!
We wanted to share the experience with everyone near us, so Chrissy started taking them in a cooler to yoga, and we both brought them to roller derby practice, sometimes just popping the trunk open after practice and all the gals would buy them up. Special orders soon followed. And then one of Chrissy’s yoga students mentioned selling them at a local coffee shop. This was the wakeup call that confirmed to us “Wow! People really need this in their lives”. So we took the natural next steps to actualize our vision.
We became Rainbow Juices, with a logo (made with a typewriter and sharpies), mason jars, and a tiny cooler. We rented a few kitchens along the way, sold our juice in 12 different locations until we finally opened our own storefront in 2015. We quickly started adding raw treats to our front fridge but had other raw creations that we were ready to share with our community. We just wished we had a bit more space.
So we put that intention out to the universe, and within a few months, the perfect opportunity presented itself: a beautiful space right next door to Rainbow Juices. We opened our raw vegan cafe in April 2017. Under the Sun is a culmination of our love for organic food, local produce, veganism, and a desire to have organic, raw, vegan food at our fingertips. We work closely with local farms to bring the highest quality, nutrient-rich and delicious fresh cuisine to Long Beach.
Has it been a smooth road?
When you own a small business, it’s safe to say its never perfectly smooth. We’ve had moments of laughter, sweat, and some tears, but for us, it has always been an exciting adventure full of heart. Some of our early struggles include outgrowing small incubator kitchens and trying to find new ones that fit the needs of our juice production. There is definitely a need for more incubator kitchens in Long Beach for small food ventures.
We also discovered some regulations for juice that made it difficult for us to grow locally. Raw juice is actually federally regulated, and distributing raw juice to be sold, even locally, is prohibited. So we had to stop our distribution to our local spots.
But we were already well on our way to opening our own brick-and-mortar, so we saw that challenge as a push for us to do something even bigger, and to give us the opportunity to reach even more people. The support from the community has been our rock. A solid foundation that has kept us going through the years and for that, we are so grateful.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
We own two spots in downtown Long Beach at 244 and 246 East 3rd Street, Rainbow Juices and Under the Sun. At Rainbow Juices, we create fresh, cold-pressed juices daily. We bottle them in glass jars and sell them in our cute retail spot. The front door rolls right open, and its super easy to pull up, grab your juice, and head out with your daily dose of fruits and veggies.
Our specialties include three different Juice Cleanses for specific cleansing goals. We have an expert staff that can help match folks with their best option for cleansing. We also have juice packs available at a bulk rate. Our fridge is always full with a variety of juice blends – over 30 seasonal juices to choose from. We even have delicious almond milk with superfood blends available and wellness tonics.
Under the Sun is the only 100% raw vegan restaurant in Long Beach. We offer a creative, plant-based cuisine using many raw food techniques, so the experience is fun, beautiful, and a treat for all the senses. We create everything on our menu in-house from scratch, from our raw vegan burgers to breads, coconut wraps, ferments, cheeses, and a local favorite – our delicious variety of raw vegan desserts.
Our customers range from folks having their first raw food experience to those who’ve been 100% raw vegan for years, and the feedback is astounding. We’ve turned skeptics to believers who never thought raw food could taste so good. We’ve even had folks weep with gratitude for all the love and energy that they receive when they enjoy our offerings.
This is just further confirmation that we are doing what we love and what we set out to do – to help increase the experience of health and happiness for everyone here on planet Earth and, at the same time, treating our planet and all of its inhabitants with love and respect.
Sustainability is at the forefront of everything we do – we use compostable containers, use the whole plant as much as possible and put any plant waste into our compost bin for pickup by the Office of Sustainability in LB. We use eco-friendly cleaning products, reuse jars, and other shipping containers.
And we get our produce locally, including from a farm right here in Long Beach, Organic Harvest Gardens. This takes a lot of thought and care, but we think that the planet is worth it. 😉
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
We were in the first wave of local people with big ideas creating businesses from literally just a dream. There weren’t a ton of models of this type at that time, but we sure helped each other out.
We remember texting back and forth with Fine Feathers about health department concerns and licensing and home kitchen regulations, as they were just opening their Kombucha business in Long Beach. Also, many of the established local business owners were the greatest support and advocates for our new venture.
Lord Windsor Roasters was the first to carry Rainbow Juices and have always supported locally. Also, Portfolio really helped us connect with so many in our community. Kerstin was such a great advocate for us and always helped us with business advice and encouragement.
The city has implemented many programs since that have supported small local businesses in their early stages including cottage law (the ability to create foods in a licensed home kitchen), small start-up grants and loans, and small business counseling. Long Beach has become quite a hub for entrepreneurs to bring their passions to life.
- Address: 246 East 3rd Street Long Beach, CA 90802 (Rainbow Juices)
244 East 3rd Street Long Beach, CA 90802 (Under the Sun)
- Website: rainbowjuices.com underthesunlb.com
- Phone: 562-912-4281 562-912-7500
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @rainbowjuiceslb @underthesunlb