At only 18 years old, Chelann Gienger began her preparations to open the NUYU Juice Bar at 2209 W. Nob Hill Blvd. in Yakima. At the heart of her business, family is one of the leading themes.
She had been passionate about health from a young age and felt a juice bar was the perfect outlet to let her passion thrive. She believed Yakima had a desperate need for a healthy fast-food alternative and decided to meet the need with a fresh menu that consists of juice, salads and smoothies.
In May 2015, three days before Gienger completed high school as a Running Start home-schooled student and two weeks before she graduated from Yakima Valley Community College, NUYU Juice Bar opened. NUYU has 18 items on its menu, including juices, smoothies, shots and even an option where customers can create a custom juice for their own personal taste.
The young entrepreneur became involved in the Nob Hill business after her sister-in-law, Teliah Gienger, and business partner Kennedy Wilkinson opened Renu Hot Yoga in February 2015 and asked Chelann if she’d be interested in helping launch a juice bar in the empty space at the other side of the same building. Chelann entered a business partnership to start the new business with her brother, Kylon Gienger, and two friends, brothers Landon Wilkinson and Sean Wilkinson. Two years later, she co-owns NUYU with Teliah.
Growing up, Chelann’s parents home-schooled her and taught her life principles that have made her the growing success she is today.
She says, “One of the main things I think equipped me for this is having a personal mission, vision, and values — knowing exactly why I am doing what I am doing, and what’s at the core of that, because being an entrepreneur is not all rainbows and butterflies.”
Addressing what it is like to run a business with family, the 20-year-old Chelann says, “I love it, but my family isn’t ordinary like most other people’s.” She explains that all of her immediate family carries out the same goal-oriented, entrepreneurial mindset.
Juggling family and a business can be a major balancing act. Despite the constant challenge of drawing the line between work life and personal life, Chelann points out: “Working with family has definitely been a big perk and upside for me, personally.”
Despite the daily challenges of operating and co-owning a business at such a young age, Chelann lives a life that throbs with accomplishment. And she makes it look so easy.
She oversees about five employees and has even started her own podcast where she inspires young entrepreneurs like herself. Her podcast is called “Entrepreneur Before 25.” On her podcast, she interviews young entrepreneurs who have worked hard to get where they are today. In each 30- to 45-minute session, she hears about these young people’s experiences about leading the workforce. Overall, the young business person exemplifies what it means to take life by the horns.
When customers first walk in, the air is crisp and one enjoys the vibrant smells of fresh fruit and vegetables. Soft tones of natural wood and subway tiles add an earthy yet industrial element to the architecture of the juice bar. With plenty of seating, it’s a convenient place to sit down and get some work done with a beverage that contains fresh fruits, vegetables or nut butters.
Chelann has infused her creative spirit into the atmosphere of her juice bar. She says: “We want this to be a place of joy and peace; where people come and feel inspired to be healthier, better people — a place that is more of a community or a family than just your typical everyday stop.”
• Danielle Niemann is a home-school Running Start senior in the Naches Valley School District and a member of the Yakima Herald-Republic’s Unleashed program for teen journalists.