“My goal is to be a blessing to the community”
This statement is mentioned to all potential employees of Fruitive by their owner Gregg Rozeboom. I recently sat down with Bruce who is the co-founder/Gregg’s brother of Virginia Beach’s first juice bar. Since I walked through Fruitive’s doors thanks to seeing it pop up in Facebook and Instagram photos (#fruitive) a few months ago I wanted to have a better understanding of how it landed in our community…
The basic explanation for their juice bar is a meatless – plant based menu, serving up everything from kale chips, to a salad bar, and juices/smoothies. Their philosophy is simple- to encourage and support healthy lifestyles while sustaining the world around them.
The roots of Fruitive’s beginnings can be traced to Bruce’s health a few years ago. He was the King of leftovers which started to take a toll on him. After severe kidney pains landed Bruce in a hospital bed on New Year’s eve, he knew something needed to change. After researching a plant based diet he decided to convert his leftovers for fruits and vegetables. What started out a lifestyle change quickly became so much more.
A friend in the fitness world told him Virginia Beach needed a health minded restaurant and Bruce jumped at the opportunity to investigate more. Bruce and his wife landed in NYC and they tried 28 different restaurants in 2 days. This became a stepping stone for Bruce- he knew they could bring their vision back home. A business plan followed and his case to bring a new healthy alterative to the beach gained even more power when Gregg bought into the idea. After the brothers jet set across the U.S. (hello Chicago, San Francisco, Miami, and Seattle) they gained an even better understanding of what it would take to open their own place. From their research they gathered a solid line-ups of healthy juices, salads, and wraps to serve up. This menu certainly has staying power-in a blind taste test their juices ranked at the top among other juices produced from other bars throughout the country.
As they researched the juices across the U.S. they also paid close attention to the design of the restaurants. The first time I opened the door to their restaurant I was amazed at the uniqueness. Hundreds of books and art line the walls, which turned the restaurant into a very warm and cozy feel. Everything in their space is eco-friendly, even down to the tables. One table in particular is from a large tree that fell during a hurricane.
Their vision gained momentum when Bruce and Gregg met with a Realtor who showed them a few places in the Hill Top area of Virginia Beach. For the locals reading this, they even looked at the old Taste location. Something about the current location caught Bruce’s eye and he knew it was the right fit. Within a week of seeing the space they were signing a contract in order lock in the location.
Since inking the deal with the Realtor and opening on Memorial Day weekend 2012, here are a few interesting facts about the business:
The Fruitive name just clicked for them, literally. After Google searching fruit + vegetables, the search returned “Did you mean Fruitive?” Fru-t-tiv means to produce enjoyment. What better way to sum up their brand!
Gregg and Bruce’s dreams and goals are coming true:
Fruitive is continuing to expand into the local community. A new kitchen will be opening in Norfolk, VA and the Fruitive team has an even larger vision for more locations. They try their best to use local vendors, from their olive oil to hummus-with more partnerships in the works. As their business continues to expand so does their menu- Fruitive fans are in store for hot teas and streamers (their take on soup) this winter.
A statement that defines Bruce’s way of thinking:
“True success is having an admiral goal and going after it.” At one point in his life Bruce believed that a single person couldn’t change the world. The Fruitive experience has now changed his thinking. He hopes that Fruitive can continue be a healthy alterative while being a blessing in the community.
Recommend items: Fruit ‘N Greens salad and Carrot Kick juice.