YOUR BUSINESS STARTS HERE  |  CASE STUDY with Drew Butterworth of goodvibes juice co.  

photo of Lloyd and Drew inside goodvibes juice  

...and the juice is even better.

From the vintage penny tile at its doorway, to the cool blue on its walls, to the nutritious array of juices, kombucha and smoothies on its menu, goodvibes juice co. conveys a fresh vibe appealing to today’s health conscious consumer. 


At its core, goodvibes juice co. is a health-oriented beverage company. Its mission is to offer its customers an easy path to good nutrition, allowing them to spend more time with friends, family and healthy activities.


Friends for life build a business that creates a balanced life

The business began with Drew Butterworth and Lloyd Arbour, best friends since grade four. After following separate career paths for a few years - Drew into corporate marketing and sales and Lloyd into art and design - the two reunited to build a business around a shared passion: building a balanced life based on regular exercise and good nutrition. 


“We know the secret to a balanced life consists of equal parts nutrition and exercise. That’s the foundation,” says Drew. “When it comes to health and weight management, there’s no magic bullet. It is about putting in the work and eating properly.” 


The two began planning the goodvibes juice co. concept back in 2014, nearly two years before opening their first location in Downtown Kitchener. Says Drew, “After we left the corporate world, we spent a lot of time assessing the market, building a rapport with our potential customers on social media and learning about our target demographic. We knew smoothies and juicing were a passion for us, but through our planning phase, we also saw an opportunity in the market that was unfulfilled.” 


Drew chuckles when he thinks about the store’s official opening...right in the midst of LRT construction. “It’s a pretty remarkable story we have to tell,” he says. “Every young business faces strong headwinds, but the LRT construction phase presented an extraordinary challenge. In addition, we had to move from our first location because the building we were in was being demolished. Sometimes I sit back and think, how the heck did we make it? But I have to say, we’re doing really well for a young retail business. We see ourselves as part of the revitalization of the downtown and we’re absolutely getting our name out there.”


For small business retailers, marketing is everything

“One of the things we’ve learned as a small business retailer is that marketing is everything,” says Drew. The business relies heavily on social media to build its brand, posting 2-3 times a day to Instagram -- it’s primary engagement channel -- while carefully and thoughtfully curating content that is visually consistent with the business’ fresh, young vibe. Drew notes that he began building the company’s social media presence long before the retail doors ever opened. In the year before the store opening he was able to build an authentic, organic following of influencers that represent the business’ ideal target demographic: health-conscious females between the ages of 19 and 34. The effort built up a ready-made audience for the company’s juices, allowing for a strong launch into the market. By the time goodvibes juice co. opened, it had nearly 1,000 social media followers ready to be converted into buyers. “We asked all our new customers how they heard of us,” says Drew. “And fifty percent of them said Instagram.”


Drew and Lloyd oversee all of the store’s marketing. “We might post new photos or videos, and lately we’re using the Instagram story feature a lot; that has become really popular for engagement,” says Drew. “For instance, today, we posted photos of our Wednesday pop-up salad bar. Key is to be consistent with the posts you are sharing to keep your audience’s attention and to offer up a variety of content that is interesting, relevant and beautiful.” 


In addition to Instagram and other social channels like Twitter and Facebook, Drew and Lloyd invest a bit in digital advertising. Their website also offers all kinds of opportunities for consumer engagement, from booking a delivery, to registering for a newsletter, to regular juice subscriptions. 


A passion for customer service is instrumental in building a brand

Health is an ongoing endeavor. goodvibes juice co.’s regulars know they need to keep up with it every day. “If someone wants fresh food, juice is an awesome choice,” says Drew. The company’s most popular menu item is called the Gardener, a concoction packed with kale, romaine, cucumber, celery, spinach, green beans, lemon and ginger.  “It is our greenest offering, and may taste awful to some, especially if you are conditioned to sugar,  but it is full of nutrition,” says Drew. “It’s like drinking a salad.” 


Getting first-time customers in the door to try the Gardener is one challenge. Building a regular clientele is another. For that, Drew relies on his passion for customer service. “I am sad to say it is a dying art in retail, and yet so instrumental to building your brand. We try to give a white glove experience every time a customer steps into our store. I tell my staff: we are in control of that customer experience. So we hold the door for them, give them a smile, offer them a sample of a juice. It is all about going that extra step.”


goodvibes juice co. opened its new location at 1 King Street, right beside the Walper Hotel, in late 2017, and business has been growing steadily since that time. The company now has regular foot traffic from local businesses, 4,500 loyal instagram followers, and a growing wholesale business. It has partnered up with tech companies, such as Kik and Shopify, for regular catering and juice deliveries. It’s also recently started using Uber Eats and Skip the Dishes to get its juices into the hands of thirsty customers. 


“Probably one of the most important things we’ve learned as a business is that you need to get outside of your own retail space in order to scale,” says Drew. “There will be days when you may not have foot traffic. So the question becomes, how do you handle the ebbs and flows of walk-in traffic to allow your business to be sustainable and thrive. This is where our wholesale business and partnering really comes into play.”


Great energy and cool businesses have downtown’s momentum trending in the right direction

“We chose Downtown Kitchener for its affordability and future prospects,” says Drew. “I have lived in Kitchener for many years. It is home for me. The growth potential I can see for our downtown core is definitely exciting. From new tech companies moving in, to the LRT, to new condo buildings going up, we’re giving people lots of reasons to come downtown and spend time here. 


“The growth potential is there. You can see it. You can feel the energy. There are some really cool businesses happening in Downtown Kitchener these days. Momentum is definitely trending in the right direction.” 


Facebook icon @goodvibesjuiceco  Instagram icon @goodvibes_juice  Twitter icon @goodvibesjuicecompany  |  goodvibesjuice.com


 Drew’s advice to other small retailers:  “There will be days when you may not have foot traffic. So the question becomes, how do you handle the ebbs and flows of walk in traffic to allow your business to be sustainable and thrive.  This is where our wholesale business and partnering really comes into play.”