Mariana Diez and her husband have opened Juicense, a juice bar that serves cold-pressed juices, organic smoothies and health food in Miami’s Coconut Grove, an ideal location for health-conscious consumers.
Inside the white, well-lit juice bar hang three dreamcatchers, and her business logo also portrays a dreamcatcher. Indeed, Diez’s business dream has come true.
“I don’t think I would be where I am at now without the SBDC at FIU,” Diez said of the Small Business Development Center at Florida International University, which provides no-cost business consulting to entrepreneurs and business owners.
Originally from Mexico by way of Washington D.C., Diez is a registered dietitian with a business degree. She began her career counseling clients on nutrition until she moved to Miami to start Juicense.
“I felt like I wanted a place where I could create community and share my recipes,” Diez said.
Her customers come in to enjoy the juices that are labeled for health benefits, like “Keep me young,” or raw foods, like acai bowl. For Diez, eating is about science.
“Food can help you change your life; food is medicine,” Diez said. “It not just tastes good, but it’s there for a purpose. You can heal yourself.”
Diez’s passion and hard work comes across clearly. However, any business owner knows that a successful business requires more than passion. On the advice of a friend, Diez turned to the Florida SBDC at FIU for business advice.
“I wanted to gather as much help as I could,” Diez said, adding that the Florida SBDC at FIU has provided experts and advice on marketing, human resources, website development, social media, finance, sales and costs.
While she used a commercial broker to find the right spot for the store, the Florida SBDC at FIU helped regarding foot traffic, lease negotiations and the store’s inner design.
Already, she has increased the number of employees from four to eight.
Without the help of the Florida SBDC at FIU, she said, she “might be open now, but a lot of things probably would not have been done the way you’re supposed to.”