Opening of an organic juice cafe in Amherst

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AMHERST – A new juice cafe is coming to downtown Amherst.

Kwench Juice Café is a franchise with 17 locations across the United States and will open its next location before October 1 under Janice Samson and Chandra Lee. Amherst’s location is 19 North Pleasant St., formerly the Glazed Donut Shop.

Kwench offers organic smoothies, juices, quinoa bowls and other foods with local produce. Samson and Lee said they were both looking for something new to do in their professional lives and wanted to get involved in a franchise. Samson works in real estate and has worked in a bank for about 20 years. Lee is an accounting clerk and health and wellness coach.

“We were just trying to find a way to combine our strengths and do business,” Samson said. “We came across Kwench, which is an organic juice franchise. They make smoothies, juices, shots, salads, sandwiches, quinoa bowls for health conscious people looking for something quick and convenient, but also healthy for you and nutritious.

Lee said signing with Kwench was easy because of his hobby of making similar items for his friends and family in his daily life. The couple said Kwench’s business model stood out for them with everything locally sourced and the ability to hire other local businesses where they lived.

“It’s kind of hard to sit behind a computer all day,” Lee said. “I’m a pretty down to earth person, I want to go play in gardens and do green stuff, not sit behind a computer, so it was pretty exciting to find something like that, it’s something that I do all the time for my family and I’m really health conscious, I love to cook and feed people, it’s my Italian side and being able to do that with really nutritious and healthy food is just a bonus .

Samson and Lee were also drawn to the hands-on approach of Kwench’s franchisor, Chris Gregoris. Samson said typical franchises can be a very corporate experience with layers of people to talk to to put certain elements in place.

“[Gregoris] has been great helping us along the way,” Samson said. “He provides a ton of support, he’s available to us all the time. We are in communication all the time.

The pair also anticipated slower summer months when students leave, but said they were ready for the seasonal adjustment. Lee said they were already sending messages from “super excited” students. Samson said the team’s social media presence appealed to both students and locals. They can be followed @KwenchAmherst on Instagram and Facebook.

“As we know, Facebook is more for older people, so we already have a good number of older generation followers and Instagram is for this college-aged millennial,” Samson said. “I think we can also tap into the locals where we try to localize a lot of our menu items – Chandra has found some really great names for our super juices.”

These names are locally loaded with titles such as “The Poet” for Emily Dickinson, “The Minuteman” and “Quabbin Quinoa Bowl”.

“We can be reached on our Facebook or Instagram pages pretty much anytime,” Lee said. “We’re just super excited to serve the community, we really are.”

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