MONTEREY — Opening a business is always a calculated risk. Doing so during a pandemic only heightens that insecure feeling and nervous tension.
Yet, the success that former national BMX hotshot Alex McCloskey and his wife, Kate, have had with their juice and smoothie business in Salinas prompted a decision to expand.
Finding what McCloskey called a dream spot at 491 Alvarado St. in Monterey was too good to pass up, as the pair will open Perfectly Pressed at 8 a.m. on Saturday.
“It’s a risky endeavor during a pandemic,” said McCloskey, who is the director of product strategy at Church Brothers Farms in Salinas. “So sure it’s scary. But I’ve seen and believe in the product.”
That product is juices and smoothies, none of which contain any added sugar. All products are made each day in the morning in their Salinas store and are ready to take out.
“The benefit of the pandemic is taking care of yourself,” McCloskey said. “This is not the new normal. We see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
In the meantime, all orders will be takeout until the health department deems it safe to have customers inside.
As many as eight different juices — 14 total — will be on display each day. Eight different smoothies will be available daily as well.
“Because our product is bottles, it’s all built to go,” McCloskey said. “It’s all grab and go. The smoothies are made on the spot. You can order ahead by phone or on our app.”
A 2005 Monterey High graduate, McCloskey and his wife lived in Australia for four years before having kids and deciding to return to their roots in 2016.
“What I loved about Sydney was the amazing food scene, especially the juices,” McCloskey said. “We loved it there. But this is home. And it’s good to be back.”
Adventuring into their own business came in 2018 when they purchased Perfectly Pressed Juice on West Alisal in Salinas. At the time, the previous owner was struggling.
“We took a bit of a leap,” McCloskey said. “We had people telling us to be careful and you don’t know what you’re getting into. But we had a vision and a plan.”
One that has panned out and proved profitable over the past two years, despite a pandemic crippling a lot of businesses this past year.
“We did a facelift, changed some juices to broaden the product and added a smoothie menu,” McCloskey said. “Things have turned around and it’s been killer.”
McCloskey estimates that a quarter of his business is now smoothies, as they make up to 15 different types of blended drinks.
Purple Haze, the first smoothie the McCloskeys created, is made with blackberries, bananas, almond milk and spinach to name a few of the products.
One of Perfectly Pressed’s most popular smoothies is Son of a Beach, which consists of pineapple, kale, strawberries and coconut water.
“They all have a health-driven purpose,” McCloskey said. “What’s been fun is healthy does not have to taste bad. It’s being creative to make your product delicious.”
With the second store, McCloskey estimates that they will make anywhere between 300 to 500 bottles of juices from eight to 14 flavors daily, depending on the day, or perhaps request.
“We’re trying to have fun with all-natural products,” said McCloskey, who was a BMX national champion as a youth in Monterey.
The pandemic has McCloskey prepared for a slow start. Yet, the continued success of their business in Salinas gave them a reason to believe it can be successful on the Peninsula.
“Despite most of the shopping center being shut down in our Salinas shop, our business has done well,” McCloskey said. “The people understand the benefit. Who doesn’t want to feel healthy?”
Plus Alvarado Street is a popular locals’ and tourist destination when the pandemic ends and normalcy eventually returns.
“It could take some time to build up steam,” McCloskey said. “We’re prepared. We’re excited about bringing our product to the Peninsula. We believe in it. The product is healthy and tasty. It will sell itself.”
Contributed by local news sources