April 24, 2024

MASHPEE — The 800-square-foot Hometown Juice & Co that just opened at Mashpee Commons has a mighty menu: bowls, smoothies, juices and wellness shots with ingredients from agave to whey protein, activated charcoal to turmeric. 

Brandon and Megan Babiarz opened the Mashpee shop on Feb. 29. It’s the third Hometown Juice location. Their other shops are in Sandwich and Osterville.  

Sandwich was the starting point

Megan and her friend, Heather Wilson, opened the first Hometown Juice in Sandwich in 2018. That 1,200-square- foot space was the only place the town Health Department said was OK for a shop like theirs because it had a septic system, Brandon Babiarz said.  

There is no seating in Sandwich, but there is a selection of products by small Cape businesses that customers can purchase when they come in for bowls, juices and smoothies. Giving space for small local businesses in a brick-and-mortar setting was important, Babiarz said.  

Wilson is no longer a partner. The Babiarz couple added a second location in 2021 when they heard that a space in Osterville was going to be available. That Wianno Avenue location seemed a perfect fit for their business model. They wanted a small interior to provide fast take-out service.  

Osterville is the only location with a small counter seating area. Babiarz said the community has been drawn to shop near the intersection of Wianno Avenue and Main Street. Babiarz said this past summer was a turning point for the store, with customers stopping by regularly.  

“It’s what you did in the morning,” he said. “You grabbed a juice or bowl in the morning.” 

Distinct character for each store

Each location has its own character and rhythm. In Osterville there is an ebb and flow with the season. In Sandwich, with so many people living within a few miles’ radius, the business has a steadier flow, though there is a bump up in the summer. Babiarz hopes that an area like Mashpee Commons, with its 100 businesses and 77 residential units, will lend itself to what they do well.  

“We think it has a chance to be our best performing store,” Babiarz said.  

The couple want their customers to know what they are consuming: healthy, flavorful juices, bowls and smoothies with no fillers.  

Babiarz believes a smoothie is a “meal in a cup,” as well as a good way to hide things from children, like spinach and kale. Take the Greenville Driver with its pineapple, banana, lemon, coconut water and kale mixed in. 

“Kids are going to get all the benefits of consuming kale, Babiarz said, adding that they would taste the pineapple most of all.  

Taste tests lead to perfection

The ingredients of the juices and smoothies were arrived at through trial and error, research and a great deal of taste tests. The couple wanted the health benefits of things like wheat grass and bee pollen and such, but most of all they wanted the products to taste good.   

“We drank a lot of juices and smoothies,” he said. “No matter what it says is in it, we want it to taste awesome.” 

The menu includes 11 juices in 16-, 20- or 24-ounce sizes, including the Eye Candy, with carrot, red apple and ginger, and the Beet It, with beet, cucumber, carrot, lemon, orange and pineapple. Nine smoothies include the Hometown Hero, with coffee, cocoa nibs, peanut butter, banana and almond milk. They are available in 16-, 20- and 24-ounce sizes.  

Customers can choose from 11 wellness shot ingredients, such as wheatgrass and ginger, and 22 smoothie boosts, such as whey protein and hemp seeds. The menu includes blended fruit bowls with toppings, toast, salads and snacks. And customers are welcome to make their own concoction with up to five ingredients.  

Keeping it local

The names are a source of pride, and a nod to the Cape and Sandwich, for the couple. The Blue Knight smoothie is a tip of the cap to Sandwich’s high school mascot. Root 6A, Boardwalk Splash and Jarves Jumpstart all pay homage to their hometown, and why “Hometown” is in the company name. 

A cleanse six-pack, which includes three juices and three smoothies, can be had for a one- or several days cleanse. The approach of bathing suit season brings an increase in sales for that item, Babiarz said. Meant to be a reset rather than a diet, six 16-ounce cleanse drinks are meant to be consumed in one day and are made fresh to order.  

“The brain-gut connection is something we always think about,” he said. 

Babiarz said they are trying to provide an alternative to going out to eat, or at least helping people switch from drinks with high sugar, low nutrient value to something healthy and beneficial. And they plan to be in their shops daily, with the help of 12 staff during the busy season. 

“We want to be visible, make the product, be here,” Babiarz said. “We’re not absentee owners.” 

Denise Coffey writes about business, tourism and issues of concern to Cape Cod residents and visitors. Contact her at [email protected].

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