Young entrepreneur brings healthy juice concept to Encinitas

A young entrepreneur — who's found success for five years selling healthy juices at a small Carlsbad tasting room and at farmers markets across San Diego — has opened shop in Encinitas.

Hanna Gregor, 29, opened OH! Juice at 90 North Coast Highway 101 in November. The cafe offers a variety of organic juices and grab-and-go food items such as sandwiches, soups, salads and açaí bowls.

Popular selections include the "Go Green" juice, "Green Routine" juice, strawberry milk, Cookies N Protein milk, vegan chili, "Taste the Italy" toast and mint chip smoothie.

Gregor, who studied nutrition at Pennsylvania State University, was inspired to start her own business in her early 20s when she worked at a similar juice cafe in downtown San Diego. That business, however, wasn't run as efficiently as it could have been and the owner was often absent, Gregor said. The shop eventually shut down.

"I learned everything not to do with that business," said Gregor, who moved to San Diego in 2012. "I would do anything for [the owner], and people would come in and ask if I was the owner. Eventually, I just started lying and said that I did own the business. I kind of just faked it and built confidence around running a business."

Combining her skills from years of waitressing and her characteristics as an Aries — "always go, go, go," as Gregor described the zodiac sign — she decided that she would open her own business.

Gregor's company started off as a juice-only concept at farmers markets that used products from local farms and vendors. She also offered cleanses and weekly home deliveries, all the while advising people about nutrition.

"Juice was and is one of the quickest ways to increase someone's overall health, performance and prevention of disease," Gregor said.

Now with her second brick-and-mortar location — which is larger than the tasting room in Carlsbad — Gregor sees Encinitas as the perfect spot to continue her mission.

She said the north coastal San Diego city offered a cool vibe and culture with friendly and connected people who care about eating organically. The shop offers a seasonal menu, and customers may sample juices before they order. A weekly six-pack of juices is also offered for people looking to cleanse their digestive systems.

Gregor noted that OH! Juice is one of five all-organic cafes in San Diego County. Three of those businesses are in Encinitas, she said.

The Encinitas resident added that her location, at the Moonlight complex next to Lofty Coffee Company, is prime real estate for her business model.

"I love the location because it is on 101 and right near Moonlight Beach," Gregor said. "People going to and from the beach can stay healthy, hydrated and light while they enjoy the beach. We're so lucky to be so close to downtown yet a little edged out so that we don't have to deal with that kind of challenge."

Parking is also available underneath the mixed-use complex, which Gregor believed is an amenity that not many visitors are aware of.

Looking forward, Gregor expects to open five OH! Juice locations throughout the county, including one in Del Mar Heights next year.

However, she said, one of her biggest goals is maintaining quality over quantity.

"We want to always maintain a very high-quality standard," she said. "I'm not so excited about quantity as long as everything is tasting amazing."

For more information, visit www.ohjuicecleanse.com.

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