Fresh, fruity and flavorful

Amanda Garrett

Juice and smoothie bar prepares for its grand opening April 28

Thom Knepp, 1999 Kent State marketing major, stands outside his new juice and smoothie bar, Pulp, on East Main Street. Knepp owns the block which also houses the T-Mobile store.

Credit: Beth Rankin

From the sweet smell of freshly squeezed orange juice to the lime-green- and tangerine-colored walls, Pulp, a new juice and smoothie bar in Kent, is a place where fruit rules.

Pulp, located at 1708 E. Main St., serves a variety of fruit-based smoothies along with freshly squeezed orange, carrot and apple juices. To complement signature smoothies, customers can order wraps, soups and salads that fit in well with Pulp’s healthy menu, store owner and manager Tom Knepp said.

“I opened Pulp because I wanted to sell a great product in a fun atmosphere,” Knepp said. “All of the products are nutritious and healthy and from the color of the walls to the people I hired, I’ve tried to create an upbeat environment that people like being in.”

Business has been booming since the store opened April 2, Knepp said.

“We just planned for a really soft opening to see how things would go,” he said. “But it’s been crazy since we opened the door. We already have regular customers who come in every day.”

Until Pulp has its grand opening April 28, Knepp is encouraging customers to give him feedback on the smoothie and food recipes.

“We will be doing something special for the grand opening, but I’m not sure what it will be yet,” he said. “By that time, we’ll have all the recipes for the smoothies set, and we’ll have our full line of wraps ready.”

Knepp began to plan for the restaurant in November 2004, when he moved the wireless phone store he also owns to the other side of the plaza. Knepp said he supervised all the details of the store to create a healthy product in a fun setting.

Smoothies range in price from $4.25 to $6.25, and customers can add herbal and vitamin enhancers that are supposed to help cure hangovers, enhance libido and reduce stress.

“Our most popular enhancer is the hangover relief, and we also sell a lot of the stress eliminator,” Knepp said. “There are some people who actually order the libido enhancer, but they’re usually sort of nervous about it.”

Kent State students Leah Swartz and Mary Rundle ordered smoothies that contained apple juice, peaches, bananas, orange sherbet and energy and fat burning enhancers yesterday.

Junior marketing major Rundle said she and Swartz have been to Pulp almost every day since it opened because they enjoy the quantity and quality of the smoothies.

“The smoothies are good and they’re healthy and they fill you up like a regular meal,” said Swartz, junior business and marketing major. “They’re a lot better than going to a fast food place.”

Knepp said he is pleasantly surprised by the growth of his business, and he hopes to expand Pulp in the future.

“In 10 years, it would be nice to see 20 Pulp stores all over Ohio,” he said. “I’m shocked by the business we’ve had so far, and I hope it leads to more things.”

Contact news correspondent Amanda Garrett at [email protected].