In 2012, Jeffrey Church co-founded Suja Inc., which specializes in healthy, organic, non-GMO bottled juices. When restaurant and nightclub entrepreneur, James Brennan convinced Church to try a Green Supreme juice, Church was blown away by the taste. He figured if he liked it, anyone in America would, too. Brennan introduced Church to the product’s creators: Eric Ethans, a self-taught chef who crafts interesting combinations of fruit and vegetable juice with exotic ingredients, and his friend Annie Lawless, who grew up with celiac disease and had been supplementing her nutrition with fresh juice since she was a teenager. Together, the four of them created Suja. Church used his Harvard Business School degree and history of starting profitable companies to lead the company to large-scale success. Today, Suja is available on the shelves of multiple grocers and retail markets nationwide.
Drawing on his relationship with Whole Foods, Church secured a massive order from the high-end retailer. To extend the life of their juices from three days to 45, Suja created a unique form of preservation called high-pressure processing (HPP). This process destroys harmful cell-based pathogens without compromising nutrients, enzymes and vitamins. Since premium ingredients are essential, Church suggested Suja secure organic produce by forming a strategic relationship with Jack Brothers Farm in El Centro. Now, Suja can contract-grow specific fruits and vegetables on demand.
Church helped Suja stay true to its roots by expanding its product line and earning the Whole Foods coveted Supplier of the Year award. Suja Classic features six health-intensive flavors for $7.99 a bottle. Less radical is the Suja Elements line at $4.99 a bottle. The newest line, Suja Essentials, is both palatable and affordable at $3.99 a bottle.
As the company grew, Church pitched in where needed, picking up product and making deliveries, brewing the juices and marketing them. He spends time on hiring to find employees who have the right chemistry and are willing to roll up their sleeves to assist anywhere, too.
Suja means long, beautiful life. To help provide one for others, Suja donates 20 cents from every bottle sold of Suja Elements to nonprofits. Having grown from four employees to 200 and expanding from a 100-square-foot ice closet to two separate facilities totaling 65,000 square feet, Suja’s future looks aptly long and beautiful.