Seven years ago, Monica Berriz had no idea how juicing would change her life. Not only did she find new energy and vitality as a result, but she also wound up starting a wildly popular local business, Perfectly Pressed Juice Bar.
But Berriz says it’s not just a business—for her it’s a mission to help customers achieve optimal health.
“People tell me how much our juices have helped them,” she says. “It’s very gratifying to serve people and help them be healthier.”
It all began when Berriz first learned about juicing and decided to give it a try. She immediately lost weight and gained energy. It had such an impact on her life that she told all her friends about it—and they started asking her to create healthy juices for them.
At the time, she was working in the office of her husband, Salinas chiropractor Luis Ocon, and creating her cold-pressed organic juices in her kitchen at home. Demand increased, and so did sales, and she found that she simply didn’t have enough space for all the produce and equipment that she had accumulated. That’s when she rented the space in Salinas that would become the first Perfectly Pressed Juice Bar, without imagining that it would turn into a much larger business.
Now, only three and a half years later, there are seven Perfectly Pressed Juice Bar locations in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties, and there are plans for several more in the area in the near future.
The way in which Perfectly Pressed Juice Bar creates its products is vital to retaining valuable nutrients. Berriz says that Perfectly Pressed Juices are cold-pressed and never pasteurized or heated, so that none of the essential vitamins and minerals are lost. The juices are made and transported to the stores twice a day to keep up with demand.
And unlike other juice brands, Perfectly Pressed Juice Bar does not add sweeteners or other additives to its juice products. “It’s pure health in a bottle,” she says.
The improvement she’s seen in herself is something she sees a need for in the general public. Berriz said that getting a full complement of vitamins and minerals through juiced fruits and vegetables has helped lower her blood pressure and cholesterol, and that after she started juicing, her blood tests have come back “absolutely perfect.”
“My health is better today than it was when I was in my 20s,” says Berriz.
The signature blends, such as Green Dream, EnerGee, Berry RAD and Allure, are exclusive to Perfectly Pressed Juice Bar, and all created by Berriz. Many of the juice blends combine vegetables and fruit, so that customers get a fully rounded portion of enzymes and nutrients in their drink.
Seasonal blends are also offered, such as Sweet Choke, Vampear, and Summer Love. Because these are raw juices, they are not available in grocery stores, only at Perfectly Pressed Juice Bar locations.
In addition, Perfectly Pressed Juice Bar also offers a juice detox cleanse package that’s good for a three-day cleanse, which can help reboot your metabolism and vitality and get you started on your New Year’s resolutions for better health. Customers can also join the Juice Club and save on half-gallon purchases.
In addition to juices, Perfectly Pressed stores offer a selection of healthy foods, including salads, burritos and sandwiches, as well as the popular Energy Bites and locally made Haulin’ Oats organic oatmeal.
Berriz makes sure that her business is environmentally sustainable by buying organic produce from local growers and distributors, including A&A Organics, Lakeside Organic Gardens, and Watsonville Coast Produce.
Perfectly Pressed Juice Bar stores serve juices in glass bottles, never plastic. There is an initial bottle deposit, which is fully refundable and can be used toward your next drink purchase. That way, bottles can be washed, sanitized, and used over and over, saving on waste that might otherwise go to the landfill.
In addition, the stores only use straws made from plant products that can be composted after use, and leftover pulp from the juice processing is offered to anyone who would like it for animal feed.
The business is a family affair, with Berriz’s daughter Arielle Lysacek running the stores and her fiancé Dennis Zmijewski in charge of produce and production. Berriz’s husband continues in his practice at Ocon Family Chiropractic in Salinas.
Berriz is now planning to open new stores in Hollister, Morgan Hill, Scotts Valley, Monterey and Carmel, and is hoping to franchise the business so that it can spread even further.
“I never in a million years thought this would be such a big business, but it’s grown of its own accord,” says Berriz, adding she continually gets requests to open more stores. And when new stores open, “The customers are so grateful.”
“We want to keep people well,” she says. “We want to keep them happy.”
Kathryn McKenzie, who grew up in Santa Cruz and now lives on a Christmas
tree farm in north Monterey County, writes about sustainable living,
home design and health for numerous publications and websites.