Claudia Barnes started making her own healthy juices in early 2017 while her husband, Pat, was undergoing post-cancer chemo-radiation treatments. Pat required liquid nutrients during his recovery because cancer impacted his ability to swallow solids. What they now refer to as, “The Original” (Very Verde) was created to assist with this nutritional requirement. Claudia consistently encouraged him to drink the green juice because it’s “better4 for you”; hence the name Better4You Juices.
Pineapple was one of the first flavors Pat could taste following his treatments, so they incorporated a pineapple into their logo. Claudia created three other flavor blends, and those three plus Very Verde are referred to as “The Staples.”
Better4You Juices are prepared with fresh produce…never frozen. They do not add sugar, use preservatives, additives or chemicals which may compromise the natural result of the blends. Produce is sourced locally from farmers markets when possible, and they exercise great care when purchasing from local commercial suppliers. Each combination blend is prepared from the heart with the hope of the consumer having a positive experience and becoming a returning “Juice Friend” (customer).
Claudia received rave reviews for her juices from family and friends, who encouraged her to sell her juices at local farmers’ markets. The juices were a big hit. Her next step was to start selling online. As demand grew, Claudia knew that she needed more space for production. She reached out to the University of Mary Washington Small Business Development Center (UMW SBDC) for assistance. The UMW SBDC assisted Claudia in developing her business plan and applying for commercial financing. She obtained financing and purchased a trailer for selling her products. Recently, she moved into a production space.
When Claudia and Pat decided to lease a space for production, they reached out to the Economic Development Office for the City of Fredericksburg. M.C. Morris orchestrated a virtual introduction to the people who would be key in the almost 6-month process of acquiring an official place of business in the City of Fredericksburg! Of her experience, Claudia says, “The ladies in Building and Planning and the Commissioner of Revenue’s office could not have been more patient with my constant visits, phone calls and/or numerous questions! Additionally, our commercial realtor, Myklind Messinger, went to bat on our behalf when locating the spot where Better4You Juices is now housed for production and pick-up retail.”
They recently held a soft opening in their space located at 306 Frederick Street, Suite 101A, in downtown Fredericksburg.
Claudia encourages other business owners to work with the SBDC to help launch or grow their businesses. “If anyone is considering starting a business in this area or another area, our most significant advice….locate your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC); make an appointment for one-on-one consultation and register for one or more of the vast listings of workshops and webinars that are available! Some classes require a nominal fee for registration, but it is worth the investment and time!”
Claudia adds, “Lastly, saying “thank you” to our local SBDC just does not seem adequate… we are grateful for all of the guidance we’ve received and continue to receive on this journey! Thank you.”