I.V. Juice Bar in La Verne, located just a few minutes from campus on Foothill Boulevard, offers more than fresh açaí bowls, juices, wellness shots, sandwiches, shakes and smoothies.
It nourishes the community with their mostly dairy-free and vegan-based options, uplifts customers’ health goals and creates genuine connections – all at the hands of high school business teacher Jeannette Lua, her husband and business partner Edgar Lua, and their Wellness Warriors.
At I.V. Juice Bar, Jeannette Lua aims to share her love for health and nutrition, with fresh ingredients and affordability in mind. Customers can create their own açaí bowls and add as many toppings as can fit at a set price rather than an extra cost for each item like most juice bars.
She also has a love for teaching business and is a board member for University of La Verne’s REACH program, which aims to give high school students the opportunity to learn about business in a college setting.
Jeannette Lua said her idea for I.V. Juice Bar stemmed from her being health conscious having diabetes while pregnant with her first child, while also teaching ethics in her business classes.
“I was learning about how to eat properly,” Jeannette Lua said. “And I was teaching business to high school students and we always talked about ethics. Learning these two things, all I kept thinking was, ‘I cannot be part of the problem, I have to be part of the solution’ because every single place that you go, everything has so much sugar and it’s just processed everything.”
Jeannette Lua said her natural entrepreneurship started as a kid when she would sell Lisa Frank stickers at her elementary school, pricing them anywhere from five cents to a quarter.
She graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a bachelor’s degree in business but going into college, did not always think business would be the path for her. She was originally a biology major with the intention of going into the medical field.
“I wanted to be a doctor, I went in thinking I was going to be an anesthesiologist,” Jeannette Lua said.
Being a first-generation student and a Latina, she was involved in campus organizations for pre-med students like Chicano Pre-Medical Students Association.
“We went and talked to other medical students, and none of them looked like me. One of the things that I realized was that people who were in medical school would say things like, ‘This has to be your life… I don’t have a family yet, I have to get through medical school,’” she said. “I remember hearing that and I just thought, ‘There has to be another way.’ I knew I wanted to have a family. I knew I wanted to have a life.”
After speaking with her counselor, she decided to give the business field a shot.
“All of the professors, I was just in awe of them,” Jeannette Lua said. “I was very interested in how they taught it, all of it. So I excelled, I loved it all and it called me. This was definitely the place for me.”
She later joined the Latino Business Student Association as an undergraduate where she met her now husband, Edgar Lua.
After graduation, she became an admissions counselor for Cal State San Bernardino, where she realized she was a teacher at heart. She went back to school to get her business credentials and landed a position at Downey High School teaching business plans in 2007.
She said her students encouraged her to jump on the business ideas she talked about.
“They were like, ‘You need to stop talking about it, you need to do it,’” she said.
She and her husband opened up the La Verne location in August last year after their first location in Rancho Cucamonga opened in 2017. She said opening another business location during the pandemic was difficult, but has seen such growth since.
Jeannette Lua still teaches full-time while also maintaining I.V. Juice Bar and her family life.
Saulina Lopez, Wellness Warrior at I.V. Juice Bar and senior kinesiology major at University of La Verne, began working there shortly after they opened in La Verne.
She said her job aligns with her interests in health and nutrition, and allows her to learn about superfoods.
“I’m learning about how cacao is really good for a source of magnesium, which helps with anxiety and soreness, and I didn’t even know that before I started working,” Lopez said. “It’s things like that that I can cultivate in my life and my health and my diet.”
Being a college student and always being on the go, it can be difficult to maintain full, healthy meals, Lopez said. Grabbing a bowl or a juice from I.V. Juice Bar helps get all her fruits and vegetables, protein or superfoods in one. Her go-to juice is the Detox, which includes kale, spinach, apple, lemon and jalapeño.
Jeannette Lua pours her values in teaching and community outreach into her family’s business, and it shows through I.V. Juice Bar’s social media presence and fundraisers.
The juice bar also partners with Klatch Coffee, another family-owned business just a few doors down, to sell their iced coffee.
Although the tasty bowls and smoothies are what keep customers coming back, it is the staff’s exceptional customer service that makes I.V. Juice Bar so special.
“Everything’s fresh here,” Sydney Hutchinson, assistant manager at I.V. Juice Bar, said. “We actually care about your health and want to be a positive environment to make customers feel safe and at home.”
The juice bar has established loyal regulars, often spending an extra few minutes to have genuine conversations with the staff, and some drive down from places like Orange County just to get their products, Hutchinson said.
Kaylee Varner, resident of Apple Valley and recent ULV class of 2021 graduate, regularly comes in for her usual, a large protein smoothie with almond milk. She said the juice bar has become a place where she can hang out.
“(Their business) has definitely grown over the past few months… I think the way that the girls kind of interact with everybody makes people want to come back, which is a really huge thing especially being a small business and being a college town. They’re really easy to relate to,” Varner said. “They definitely go out of their way to make sure that everybody is taken care of.”
In the future, I.V. Juice Bar would love to connect with the ULV community and collaborate on fundraisers or other events, Jeannette Lua said.
All bowls are customizable at no extra charge and cost $8 for a small, $10 for a medium and $13 for a large. Smoothies and shakes range from $6.25 to $9. Juices are $6.25 for a small and $7.50 for a large. Wellness shots are $3. Sandwiches range from $2.95 to $3.75.
I.V. Juice Bar, located at 2320 Foothill Blvd. Suite A, is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Anabel Martinez can be reached at email@example.com.