GEW Profile: Ashley Bean Of ‘Juice N Beans’

November 13, 2014

A very successful tourist souvenir shop, operating as a family business for more than a decade, saw opportunity in an economic downturn and reinvented itself completely.

Locals watched as The Bee’s Knees Ltd closed its doors on Front Street when cruise ships stopped berthing in Hamilton harbour. Not longer after, the shop was transformed into a fresh new idea for Bermuda, and opened as Juice n Beans.

Keeping it in the family, Ashley Bean now manages the juice and smoothie bar with her brother Sydney, a concept she brought to Bermuda from Toronto where she was studying at the time. Brainstorming with her mother on how to save the family business, they decided to completely change the type of business.

Bermuda Juice n Beans 2014 (1)

“The big thing in Toronto at the time was juice and smoothie bars and there wasn’t anything like it in Bermuda,” Ashley explained. “There was also nowhere on Front Street where you could just pop in and out for a quick drink and snack, to grab and go.

After substantial market research, looking at what Front Street really needed, the Beans investigated the juice bar option. They searched online to learn more about what’s really involved in the backend – much more than meets the eye! They sifted through an overload of information, eventually discovering a US juice bar consulting agency and wholesaler. It felt like a good match and the business was born.

How’s life as an entrepreneur for Ashley?

“I go to sleep dreaming about this place – there’s no switch off to go home at 5 o’clock. Having your own business you’re constantly thinking about the business, how it’s doing, what bills need to be paid, what flavour smoothie will I do next month, how can I make the front end more efficient so that customers aren’t waiting too long.

Then you have quality control, yes you want to be quick and efficient but the smoothies and coffees need to be consistent and good because that’s why customers come back. My mind is constantly working.”

Ashley speaks about her typical day and sounds energised; it’s as if her love for the product and what she does, gives her more energy.

Their lack of hospitality experience was not a concern as they accepted their limitations and took support from the consulting agency in areas such as store setup and process, as well as knowing what to expect from the business. It was a team effort.

“The business isn’t directly related to my sociology degree, yet my studies really helped me”, Ashley explained. “I understand people’s relationship with one another, and how people interact, how they behave in groups; it’s made me a people-person and that helps me with customer service and in running the café.”

Bermuda Juice n Beans 2014 (4)

How did they decide the business name?

Ashley tells the story: “We were all together as a family and we were stuck for ideas on what to call it. I don’t know if an angel passed over us because there was 5 seconds of silence and then my brother Sydney came up with the name ‘Juice n Beans’. We all loved it and it stuck. The funny thing is, we didn’t click that it’s also our family name, Bean – it took a customer to point it out, after we’d opened!”

Sydney was working as an IT consultant, often on call, familiar with the sometimes long and irregular hours of working for himself.

Ashley’s first passion is music. “I wanted to be a performer but I guess I’m a businesswoman,” she laughs. “I think it was written in the stars that I take on mum’s business, in a different form and to leave a legacy for Bermuda with Juice n Beans.”

Ashley’s advice to new entrepreneurs: “Work the backend before the front.”

  • Check out your competition
  • Location – find a good space
  • Put time and effort into research and business plans, it helps you see the whole picture before you begin.
  • Have systems and processes in place. You can sell anything but if you don’t have organisation behind it, it’s not going to last.
  • If you don’t have the smarts for a particular aspect of your business, partner up with someone who does, or pay someone to do it.

Ashley keeps a high standard in the café and admits she brings her personal values to it. “I know this business wouldn’t run like this if I had a different personality. For instance, we stay in line with health department regulations and then I take it to the extra level,” she said.

Her employees all know there is a high standard too. While they can have fun at work, there’s always something to be done. They keep it light and fun behind the counter while their hands, eyes and brains are always on the go.

Bermuda Juice n Beans 2014 (3)

Ashley appreciates good employees when she meets them. “You sometimes get a diamond in the rough but they often have their own dreams & aspirations too and want to open their own business. So we enjoy having them while we can.”

For the first six months Ashley worked 18 hours/day, 7 days a week: “It was hard, very hard, I’m not sure how I did it!” During that time she established a good customer base and people came to know her and saw her dedication and belief in her product.

In Bermuda it can take 5 years for a restaurant to get in the black. Juice n Beans opened in a recession and they expect it to take longer than 5 years to get a system in place where the owners can comfortably leave the store in the hands of a manager.

One thing they are acutely aware of is that starting a successful business takes time, hard work and a lot of patience.

- Written by Vicki Abraham, on behalf of CoffeeWorks Bermuda. This is the first in a series of profiles for Global Entrepreneurship Week [GEW]

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Comments (9)

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  1. Eyes wide Open says:

    Their Carmelitas and Parfaits are the BEST! Best Wishes to Juice ‘n Beans Cafe :)

  2. Regina says:

    Can anyone tell me if they do a healthy “greens” drink: kale, spinach, beets, maybe an apple for sweetness? Not just the juice from this but all of the fibre as well? Thanks, I’d be a daily customer for sure, as would a lot of my crossfit friends.

    • Gary says:

      Look at the board – looks like they have what you want. Of course, the best would be to visit…..

    • CR says:

      Yes they do! Not too sure about the apple but the do have many options

      Like the Veggie Patch.
      It has Pineapple, kale, spinach, avacado, protein, banana and lemon zest. If you’re not into pineapple, you can always change it to the fruit of your choice. I like it with passion fruit. :)

      There’s also a milk based one (almond and soy milk are avalible)
      Milk of choice. Kale. Spinach. Banana. Protein. & flaxseed oil.

      You can also make your own smoothie. Or just add things in to one of your choice.
      It’s completely up to you.

  3. Yes I says:

    Great story!!

  4. MCP says:

    I love this place!!!

  5. Banana says:

    Best place for friendly service and their food on the side is always amazing. We need more places like this in Bermuda for sure.

  6. Service says:

    Congrats. a great place to go to. Good service and god prices.

  7. Anjula says:

    Yes we do… is called GREEN BALANCE…..come in and try it! You will live it for sure.

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