A Juicy Passion for Family and Health

Starting Ruby Jean’s Juicery honored Chris Goode’s Grandmother and stoked an inner fire.

Chris Goode had a good job as a claims adjuster, but it didn’t ignite the fire inside him.

Goode wanted to be passionately involved in something, something that would help people and also keep alive the memory of his beloved grandmother. Ruby Jean’s Juicery has allowed him to achieve both.

Goode named the business Ruby Jean’s for his grandmother, both to keep her memory alive and because he thought she might not have died as early if she had been raised on a healthier diet. His grandmother, who was born in Oklahoma and later moved to Kansas City, was raised on a diet of fried foods, heavily-sweetened desserts and buttered cornbread. She fed her family that way too.

The Conversion

A former football player at Missouri State University, Goode became a convert to juicing after visiting Los Angeles. A couple of friends there were juicing disciples. Although leery at first, Goode changed his mind, in part after they showed him the documentary “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.” He then took a 10-day juicing cleanse and was captivated by the process. He started visiting juice bars around the country and learning all he could about the process.

“I landed on my passion,” he said.

Goode opened Ruby Jean’s Juicery on July 25, 2015, in the Westport area. Ruby Jean’s featured cleanses are designed to eliminate toxins from the body and refuel it with vitamins and nutrients.

The business has not only thrived, but is expanding. He has been honored by how the community and the city has received the Juicery, and he said he’s even received feedback from around the country.

Time to Scale Up

Goode is not content to rest on his laurels, however, and wants to continue to sharpen his business skills. He was enrolled in the FastTrac program sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kaufman Foundation to help budding entrepreneurs when he learned about ScaleUP!, a program that provides small business and technology firms with training, analysis and guidance.

ScaleUP! works with firms that have been in business for two years and helps them move upward. They must have sales of $150,000 to $500,000 with potential to move to $1 million. Goode said the Juicery is still in that range, but he hopes expansion will help him breach the $1 million mark. Ruby Jean’s has 12 employees, and Goode foresees adding more with expansion.

Goode said he benefited from the program in a number of ways. ScaleUP! brings in entrepreneurs to talk to the participants about business operations. There is a lot of camaraderie and many of the stories you hear are transferable from one business to another, Goode said.

“The mentorship is a huge component,” he said. “We have an advisor we work with, and they are big on accountability,” he said. “They want to see actual changes made as they are needed. That has been valuable.”

As a result of ScaleUP! mentorship, Goode has made changes in packaging and a “deep dive on cost points,” he said.

ScaleUP! also provided Goode with financing connections and knowledge. “There are some collusions with lending sources that have come directly from ScaleUP!,” he said.

Although Goode already had expansion on his mind when he started ScaleUP!, the experience has him thinking even bigger. He opened a second store in Springfield, Mo., in March and has a third planned for downtown Kansas City in late spring 2017.

Goode said the firm has another facility in the works in midtown Kansas City. It will house offices and the factory as well as a Ruby Jean’s Kitchen and Juicery, which will focus more on healthy foods. He also has a food and juice truck about ready to roll.

Juicy Advice

Goode’s advice to other entrepreneurs is to keep everything in perspective and be willing to sacrifice. “Don t underestimate the challenge,” he said. “We often like to under budget, to under prepare. But you want to go above and beyond. We’re typically visionaries, and we go in with an unrealistic set of expectations. Just keep it more realistic.”

Goode found his passion in Ruby Jean’s Juicery in that he can honor his grandmother and provide a beneficial service to other people. “It is a blessing to see all of these walks of life gathered together on a premise of health,” he said.