Saints Madison: A Juice Bar Without the Guilt
By John Ivanko and Lisa Kivirist | Photos By Jim Klousia 0
Does the term “juice bar” evoke angelic images of perfect health and make you feel pangs of guilt about that chocolate bar stashed in your desk drawer? Cleanse the shame and meet Saints Madison Juice Company in Madison. This may be Madison’s first cold-pressed, raw juice bar, and with its tagline of “Sin, Saint, Repeat,” this new hot spot champions all good things in playful moderation—no side dish of guilt.
“None of us can be virtuous all the time, and we’re the last to judge anyone,” says co-owner Joyce Cullen with a laugh. Cullen is a West Coast native who saw an opportunity to bring the raw juice lifestyle to Madison. Along with business partner Jo Um, the duo creates a refreshing vibe at Saints that health should be a fun, interactive, self-directed learning process. “We’re all about balance here at Saints. Yes, we can work and play hard and feel healthy at the same time, and sometimes we all sin a little. That’s perfectly okay with no judgment here.”
In August 2017, Cullen and Um opened their brick-and-mortar storefront, where they make all the fresh juices on-site and sell via a storefront case. All of their juices are made fresh via a cold-press process that uses a large hydraulic juicer and resulting pressure to chop and strain the fruit and vegetables. This unique process keeps the juice pure with the highest nutrient value by eliminating extra processes other companies may use, like introducing oxygen or pasteurizing. As more younger, millennial professionals move to Madison from other urban areas, the market is ripe for this healthy alternative.
“What this means is our product is incredibly fresh,” explains Um, a Chicago transplant who brings her retail career business background to Saints, evidenced in their clean, modern packaging and storefront. “Come into our store and the juice you buy probably was pressed that morning.” This freshness roots in the fact that the main ingredients in their juices are exactly that: fresh produce. With a commitment to all things local, Saints purchases the bulk of their vegetables in season from Raleigh’s Hillside Farm, a diversified organic operation in Brodhead providing items like kale, fennel, mint, romaine lettuce and cucumbers.
“What we really love about Jo and Joyce’s philosophy is their commitment to and understanding of the farming process,” says Lauren Rudersdorf, owner of Raleigh’s Hillside Farm with her husband, Kyle. “Even before they opened the doors at Saints, these two initiated discussions with us on what makes a good partnership with a farm like ours and how we can all best work together. That is so appreciated from our farmer lens and makes our working relationship so much stronger.”
The fun factor plays a big role in Saints’ philosophy, embracing the idea that a healthy lifestyle can be something to relish and enjoy. You’ll typically find about eight different juice offerings in the store, such as the “Exorcist” containing lemon, agave, activated charcoal and filtered water. “Meet Your Matcha” is cashew-based with matcha, dates and a dash of vanilla. Saints also creates seasonal items like the popular “Peppermint My Patty” during the holiday season, with cold brew coffee, cashew nut milk, dates and peppermint. Juices cost $7.25 for 16 ounces and mylks are $8.75 for 16 ounces. Add in a “shot” for a nutritional bonus, such as HotSh!t with apples, lemon, and echinacea or oregano, turmeric and ginger.
The thirty-something duo behind Saints also exemplifies how two people can build a friendship into a strong business partnership. Um and Cullen met through mutual Madison friends a few years ago and instantly hit it off with a shared passion for nurturing healthy lifestyles. As they committed to this opportunity to launch the first raw juice business in Madison and together enter the world of entrepreneurship, they quickly realized the respect they had for each other’s talents would form a strong business foundation for Saints.
“Joyce is amazing at operations and getting things done efficiently,” says Um. “She’s like the air traffic controller of Saints and truly one of the strongest women I know.” Likewise, Cullen is quick to share her admiration for her business partner and friend. “Jo is a whiz at branding and marketing. We complement each other well and are like two puzzle pieces that fit together.”
Additionally, Saints exemplifies how new food start-ups in Madison are quickly and enthusiastically supported by the local food entrepreneur scene. “We have been so incredibly welcomed by the food space here in Madison, especially by area chefs,” Cullen says, adding that Chef Francesca Hong of Morris Ramen stops in regularly to buy juice pick-me-ups for her staff.
But more than a beverage, Saints serves up education and inspiration for embracing the joy of juice. Stop by the store and you’ll likely chat with Um and Cullen personally as they share their knowledge and insight into juices to try based on what you may be personally challenged by or wanting to work on. Or maybe you are looking for a simple meal replacement or afternoon pick-me-up. Saints also offers various juices in packages for folks looking for a more focused cleanse.
“We consider ourselves your local, healthy bartenders,” explains Cullen with a smile. “When you stop in the store and are looking for something to try, we’ll first ask you questions ranging from ‘What has your day been like?’ to ‘What vegetables do you like to eat?’ It’s all about experimenting, trying new foods, and most importantly, taking charge of your own health.”
Saints Madison Juice Company
821 Williamson Street
Madison, WI 53703