If you’ve been drinking cold-pressed juice for quite a while now, there is a very good chance that you have strong affection for Organic Avenue.
After all, Organic Avenue was the company that introduced pressed organic juice into the New York City health and wellness scene, and people used to carry its ubiquitous orange bags everywhere. Organic Avenue was such a pioneer in the space that it also inspired many entrepreneurs to open their own juice businesses around the world.
Unfortunately, the company hit a rough patch over the past few years, as a result of numerous ownership and management changes, and found itself in bankruptcy.
Seeing real value in the brand and potential in the market, Steve Fisher, owner of Fisher Capital Investments (FCI), ended up purchasing the assets out of Chapter 7 and brought back Denise Mari, founder of Organic Avenue, to lead the company again.
With the Bleecker Street and Chelsea locations now open, and Bryant Park (5 Bryant Park), and Midtown East (54th and Lexington) expected to commence operations very soon, Organic Avenue is ready to fulfill its original mission — helping transition mainstream consumers to a healthy, plant-based lifestyle.
Eager to hear about everything that has happened and what the future holds, I recently caught up with Denise Mari.
1) When Organic Avenue went through some challenging times and ended up in bankruptcy, did you ever think that you would have the opportunity to lead the company again?
Honestly, when I first had the vision for Organic Avenue back in 2000, I saw a global company doing great things on a large scale and with me guiding it. When the sale of the company occurred and I was no longer connected to the brand in my original capacity, it was quite confusing. To then partner with Steve Fisher, by way of bankruptcy, and reconnect with Organic Avenue is nothing short of a miracle!
I am not completely surprised as I had always seen my connection as vital. I am more in awe of how things can happen, forever grateful and humbled by the experience.
2) What did you tell yourself that you would do differently, if you had a second chance to run this company?
That I would get more into the details of the business, stay closer to the team as the company grows, and build an incredibly strong foundation for growth.
3) What is the biggest thing that you learned throughout this entire process?
I have learned the importance of having good partners and great communication.
4) Doug Evans, a close friend of yours and a former CEO of Organic Avenue, is no longer helping you run the company since he is busy at Juicero. How strange or different is that for you?
Everything changes. I am grateful that I have an amazing relationship with Doug and have access to him as an advisor and friend. Now, I have additional support from the FCI team and have the opportunity to rebuild Organic Avenue with all of the experience of the past.
5) How will Organic Avenue be different from the company that we knew before?
You’ve known Organic Avenue since the early days! So, what you remember will hold true. Organic Avenue will return to develop, curate, and provide the best organic vegan lifestyle products and experience, from food to fashion.
The pressed organic juice industry is much better off with a vibrant, thriving and healthy Organic Avenue, and now that Denise Mari is back at the helm, some very positive changes can already be seen. The salads are fresher, better tasting and heartier than ever, the vegan coffee/tea bar and kombucha on tap are really smart additions, and the curated selection of organic and natural products is very well done.
This newly re-launched Organic Avenue won’t be the same as the old one. I think it is going to be a lot better.