Every time a customer walked into Shore Juice in Stone Harbor, they felt like they were walking into a tropical destination and were greeted with a friendly welcome and smile from owner Joe Wallash. His passion for creating healthy food with high quality ingredients is second to none, serving only smoothies, juices and acai bowls—a superfruit full of antioxidants blended into a thick smoothie, topped with healthy toppings such as fruit, granola and peanut butter.
Between his infectious personality and delicious products, residents and tourists alike have gravitated toward Shore Juice with lines consistently out the door, but he wanted to grow his successful business even more. The next step was to join another successful business and well-known franchise with a similar concept—Playa Bowls. Founded in 2014, they have 40 locations—the majority in Central and North Jersey—and are planning on opening 25 more on the East Coast, including Cherry Hill.
Despite the name change, which went into effect shortly before Mem- orial Day weekend, Wallash promises the same friendly, relaxing atmosphere and no other changes except for a much larger menu.
“I’m still present; we still have the same great service and now a healthier product,” he says. “[Shore Juice] has been my blood, sweat and tears for years—and I knew I wanted to grow faster in the industry. Joining Playa Bowls is joining a think tank that has my same ideals, morals and personality of the healthy, relaxing and enjoyable place to go to. We are transitioning to a better business model and taking a step forward.”
“[Playa Bowls] blew our minds,” co-owner Fran Naselli says. “They have a great system and great products. Entering the Playa Bowls franchise has been easy and they are like family. It’s been exciting to be a part of this.”
The expansive menu now includes items such as pitaya bowls, chia seed bowls, coconut bowls and banana bowls. “Pitaya is dragonfruit—another superfruit with antioxidants and vitamins,” Wallash explains. “The coconut and banana bowls are coconut-and banana-based and our chia seed bowls are chia seed pudding made with vanilla almond milk and different fruit toppings just like every other bowl.”
Wallash also kept some of his original items from the Shore Juice menu: the Lando Bowl, named after his son, Landon—an acai bowl with bananas, strawberries, kiwi and granola; Joe’s Special smoothie which is banana, peanut butter and coco greens and Green Monster—now called Sophie’s Choice after his daughter—made of kale, spinach, collard greens, apple, banana and your choice of protein. Also kept on the menu are some of his original juices, like Morning After, which consists of car- rots, apple, ginger, lemon and celery; Beet Me Up, consisting of beets, carrots, cucumbers, lemon and ginger; and C- Licious—oranges, grapefruit, lemon, pineapple and mint.
“Juices are vital—they have so many vitamins and nutrients,” Wallash says.
One of the reasons why he thinks customers love these products so much is because they want to feel good and are more health conscious than ever before. “People are more aware of what’s going into their body and want to make healthier choices,” Wallash says. “They realize how good they feel after they eat certain things.”
“It’s been great seeing the industry grow,” he continues. “I was happy when I was selling 20 bowls a day and now we’re doing well over that. The more the industry grows, the more people want to get healthier. I’ve seen people transition. Before it was, ‘Wow, he’s charging more than Wawa for a smoothie,’ to now where it’s not even a question. People want the quality food; they want the quality fruit and veggies.”
And they cater to people of all ages, from those just coming in from a workout such as running, biking or yoga, to those taking a break from shop- ping and others just coming off the beach looking for a refreshing snack or meal. They also customize to people with certain diet restrictions and/or allergies.
“From kids with allergies to teenagers and adults with some kind of ailment, we serve a whole range of people,” Wallash says. “There is no dairy in anything except for the whey protein. We only use almond milk and also coconut water. Anyone can eat something at Playa Bowls.
“The reason I love Playa Bowls is because it’s the same atmosphere I created [with Shore Juice]—a relaxing, healthy, beach theme. It’s a fun family place for all ages, and we make sure that everyone who comes in the door feels appreciated.”
261 96th Street, Stone Harbor
(609) 530-5492 | PlayaBowls.com