This Black-Owned Juice Bar Is One Of The First To Set Up In Whole Foods
By DeAnna Taylor
For Kansas City, Missouri native Chris Goode, his grandmother, Ruby Jean, was his world. She often stepped in to help his single mother care for him and his younger siblings as kids.
When Chris was about 14, she suddenly fell sick and it was discovered that she was battling Type 2 Diabetes. The family did everything they could to save her, including taking her to a special medical facility. As everyone prepared to say their goodbyes, they brought in Chris’s great grandmother who lived in Oklahoma. They wanted to give her the chance to say goodbye to her child.
Sadly, the pain of seeing her child on her deathbed caused her to have a massive heart attack in the hospital and she passed away. Two days later, Ruby Jean would also pass.
“I remember it shifting my life,” Chris Goode, Owner of Ruby Jean’s Juicery told Travel Noire. “Everything just changed.”
Fast forward to his early 20’s, Chris landed a job as an insurance adjuster. He was living the life, making a great salary, and traveling often. During a trip to Los Angeles to see some friends, Chris was introduced to the world of juicing.
“At that time, my friends were doing a juice detox, so they told me they wouldn’t be eating while I was there. They convinced me to watch a documentary called “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” and I was immediately blown away. It made me think of my grandma.”
After that trip, Chris went back to Missouri where he did a 10-day detox on his own. He felt great after and it prompted him to start getting into juicing culture. Every trip that he took, he scoped out the best juice bars in the area.
One night, after praying and trying to figure out what it was that he ultimately wanted to do in life, he realized he too wanted to open a juice bar– in honor of his grandmother.
“I went all in and quit my job immediately,” Chris said. ” I did things a little prematurely with no concrete plan, but thanks to God it all worked out.”
In 2015, the first Ruby Jean’s was opened in a small 700 square foot space of a gym in Kansas City. From the first day, business was great and only 4 months in a group wanted to license a separate location.
Within two years, the brand was winning awards including a spot on Yelp’s ‘Top 100’ list that recognized businesses all over the U.S. and Canada. They also opened an additional location off of 30th and Troost, an area once named after a former slave owner.
In late 2018, a representative from Whole Foods sent Chris an email stating that they were interested in forming a partnership. They had been following Ruby Jean’s for the last two years and loved what they were doing.
A few months later, the deal was formed and Ruby Jean’s officially opened a brick and mortar location inside of the Whole Foods located at 301 E. 51st St in Kansas City. This makes it one of the first (if not the first) Black-owned businesses to have a setup inside of the grocery chain.
“It feels great to see my grandmother’s face big as day when you walk into the location.”
Ruby Jean’s offers everything from cold pressed juices, fresh smoothies, and juices on the spot. The Troost location also offers healthy food options too.
Many of the menu items are named after significant things in Chris’s life or things significant to the culture of Kansas City.
We asked Chris to tell us what this moment means for him:
“It’s something that I don’t take for granted. God has given me this platform and opportunity. It’s amazing to create something my family is proud of.”
He spends a lot of his time speaking to the inner city youth of Kansas City, in hopes of showing them an example of what they can one day become.
DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel blogger, author, and writer. While Charlotte, NC (her hometown) is her base, she's always somewhere on a plane. Catch her on IG: @brokeandabroadlife.