It was nearly a year ago that Paula DiDonato decided, as an experiment, to set up an impromptu juice bar at The Giving Room, the Southold yoga studio she co-owns with Judy Teeven.
“There was a synergy between the types of people that come to yoga and the types of people who are into organic juicing,” said Ms. DiDonato, a Southold resident and former vice president of marketing at American Express. “You get a great yoga experience with lots of twists and detoxes and then you have a green juice to follow up.”
The experiment was a hit with customers — so much so that she and Ms. Teeven, a senior consultant to the Super Bowl 2014 Committee, decided in October to expand The Giving Room into a vacant neighboring storefront on Route 25, where they built a full juice bar and health food shop. A January grand opening has been planned.
In addition to offering an array of fresh, organic juices — many of them made with local ingredients, such as spinach and kale from Southold farmer KK Haspel —The Giving Room sells juice cleansing packages and a variety of organic food and products.
“We wanted to respond to the need that it’s a little bit difficult to find reasonably priced organic produce as well as baking goods,” Ms. DiDonato said.
On a recent Sunday afternoon, The Giving Room was bustling with patrons as the shop’s chief juicer, Suzanne Frazer, blended a drink called the “Great Green,” a popular blend made with Ms. Haspel’s aforementioned spinach and kale as well as dandelion, parsley and ginger.
“When we started there was a sweet tooth that attracted people, so we had something called the ‘What’s Up, Doc?’ with carrot, apple and ginger,” Ms. DiDonato said. “Now the favorite by far is the ‘Great Green.’ We try to wean people off the sugar in the juices so that they’re as healthy as possible.”
One person who successfully weaned himself off sugary juices this summer with the help of Ms. DiDonato and her crew is Mark Ghuneim, founder and CEO of Trendrr, a social media tracking service that was acquired by Twitter earlier this year.
A longtime Southold resident, Mr. Ghuneim stopped into The Giving Room Sunday to purchase two mason jars full of fresh juices.
“I went from drinking Coca-Colas to this,” he said while gesturing to the jars, which contained, respectively, 16 ounces of ‘Great Green’ and 16 ounces of ‘Flu Shot,’ a blend of pineapple, lemon, garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper and honey.
“It was an important year for me and having [juicing] as a balance has made all the difference for me,” Mr. Ghuneim said. “It gives you energy.”
In the future, Ms. DiDonato said, she plans to further “maximize the synergies between yoga and health and juicing.”
“We will develop the juicing and the offerings within the health food store by listening to what our customers want,” she said.