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Kosher kale: The Brooklyn juice brand that has nothing to do with hipsters


Jewish mom Julie Maleh created a neighborhood green juice business that’s taken off in her tight-knit Brooklyn community—and now has four stores and counting.
Jus by Julie
(Photo: Jus by Julie)

 

On Jus by Julie’s website, you may be surprised by one of the Brooklyn’s company’s most frequently asked questions: “Are the juices Kosher?” The answer? “Our juices are certified Kosher by Rabbi Yechiel Babad.”

Which is a good thing, since the company’s customer base—which has made the brand so popular in two years that it now has four locations and is shipping its cleanses nationwide—is centered in the tight-knit Jewish communities in Sheepshead Bay and Flatbush.

Sure, “small, artisanal Brooklyn green juice company makes it big” sounds predictable, but this, this has nothing to do with hipsters.

Julie Maleh (Photo: Jus by Julie)
Julie Maleh (Photo: Jus by Julie)

A green juice encounter

Founder Julie Maleh, 57, is a Jewish mom with a thick Brooklyn accent, five children, and a passion for nutrition. She enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition program for personal fulfillment, not with business dreams. “I always loved nutrition and just wanted to get more information. It was a passion. I didn’t have any goals,” she says.

She started making daily green smoothies in her blender hoping it would help with her own hair thinning issue and became hooked. “I had energy like I never had in my life,” she says. So she started to share the drinks, with her husband, and then at an event the Sephardic Community Center. After that, the phone started ringing off the hook, with friends and neighbors asking her to make them more.

“I was getting up at 4:00 a.m. and making what I called the Lean Green Blend and delivering them to all my friends and everybody was feeling the way I was feeling—better energy, skin, hair. It was like miracle in a bottle. I knew I was onto something. I was delivering the juice at 7:00 in the morning from house to house to house, but loving life,” she says. Her husband saw a business opportunity, and Jus by Julie was born.

The “jus”

Maleh began to expand her range beyond one miracle green, but she decided to stick to blending (which retains the fiber from the produce) rather than cold-pressing. She liked that blends kept the fruits and veggies closer to their whole state and liked the results over traditional “juice.” “It doesn’t make you feel the same way. This takes away your sugar cravings, cravings for processed food. My juice helps you learn to have better eating habits,” she says.

The line now includes several green varieties, superfood blends like Chia Berry and Acai Blend, and sweeter smoothie options like Choco-Nana and Not So Chunky. All of which happen to be delicious.

Blending beyond Brooklyn

Since the opening of her home store in Sheepshead Bay, Maleh has opened another Brooklyn store on Avenue M, plus stores in Allenhurst, New Jersey, and Cedarhurst in Long Island. She also has a warehouse that blends and ships cleanses across the country, and most of her children are now involved.

As she continues to grow, Maleh is still surprised and humbled by her success. “I created a ripple effect from my one little story…and it’s really changing people’s lives,” she marvels. And the thing that she attributes much of it to is the strength and support of the community she’s part of. “The store that does the best is my store [on East Fifth Street, near Ocean Parkway and Avenue U]. People feel the energy from me, so it’s hard to expand. I don’t want to lose that connection with people.” —Lisa Elaine Held

For more information, visit www.jusbyjulie.com

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