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Who Makes Juice for LeBron James? Cleveland’s Anna in the Raw

anna-in-the-raw

(Anna Harouvis, founder of Anna in the Raw)

Growing up in a Greek family, Anna Harouvis has fond memories of spending hours after school cooking with her grandmother while her athletic brothers played sports non-stop outside.

What she didn’t realize at the time was that this upbringing was slowly shaping her future — or “destiny”, as she puts it.

Years later, after becoming a chef, Anna was able to lease a space in the IMG building in downtown Cleveland. IMG represents and manages some of the world’s greatest sports figures and fashion icons, and her setting up shop in this building would prove to be one of the savviest decisions of her life.

Within a few months, Good to Go Café opened its doors and began serving a range of typical café fare but with non-gmo and local ingredients.

“Sourcing this type of food in Cleveland, where access to healthy and fresh local food is hard to come by, was a real challenge,” said Anna Harouvis.

Nevertheless, Anna continued down the path of offering healthy meals for her customers and eventually came to discover and appreciate the power of pressed juice.

Pressed juice, as it turns out, would serve as the catalyst for her next businesses venture — Anna in the Raw: a 100% organic line of pressed juice and raw vegan food. As a nod to her heritage and something completely different from any of her competitors, she named each juice after a familiar Greek god or goddess and sold them in her café.

Right around the same time that she launched her juice line, the best basketball player in the world, LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers, founded his own marketing firm in the offices of the IMG building. Soon, he began stopping into Anna’s café to pick up some juice, and in 2012, the Cavaliers approached her to start creating a line of juices for the entire team.

As word got out about Chef Anna’s ability to boost athletes’ performance through her raw juices, other professional teams started showing interest as well. Eventually, baseball’s Cleveland Indians reached out and wanted organic juice for their players, too.

What Anna soon began to notice after working with these teams was how different athletes reacted to different recipes. She says that basketball players tend to prefer juices with more fruit, as the sugar helps maintain their endurance. Baseball players, on the other hand, do better with more savory green juices, which encourage hydration.

Now, ten years after meeting LeBron James for the very first time, Anna’s business is thriving. She has served athletes from all over the country, including Tiger Woods, and musicians such as The Deftones, Cheap Trick and more.

“Although I’ve never met him, I’ve heard rumors that Derek Jeter said that Anna in the Raw was the best juice he’s ever had,” proudly laughs Anna Harouvis.

As her businesses prosper, Anna is pondering her next move. It could be a location in New York City or Chicago. Or, it could be furthering her commitment and work in Cleveland teaching about the importance of fresh food to local students.

Whatever path she decides to take, Anna appreciates just how fortunate she is to have served juice to the world’s top athletes and reflects back on how she “hit the lottery” in her industry.

But when she stops to think about growing up in the kitchen alongside her athletic brothers and father, she wonders how it could have ended up any other way.

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