If you've never been on Visitsouthwalton.com, it's a great little site that celebrates everything South Walton. Recently they had an interesting feature article about the origins of Raw & Juicy a popular Seaside juice bar. This story reminded me that so many of our local South Walton businesses have been founded by people who have accidentally discovered this amazing stretch of the Emerald Coast, and decided to stay.
South Walton via Alaska, via Boulder, via Italy, via Philadelphia, via New York
Originally from Alaska, Jenifer Kuntz, moved to Colorado to get her degree in performing arts. While working part time in a local health food store she became knowledgeable in the philosophy of whole food eating and healing. But this was only to pay the bills, her real dream was to be a professional dancer in New York.
That would have to come later as she put her plans on the back burner to do some traveling through Europe. Family obligations brought her back to the Philadephia area and eventually South Walton to be with her mom and ailing grandmother. Considering this a temporary move, the plan was to eventually return to New York and fulfill her dreams. In the meantime she settled in, becoming integrated into the community. Working as a yoga instructor, Jenifer would bring homemade juices and raw food treats to her students; signs of her future career were starting to emerge.
Eventually, mom went back home, leaving Jenifer to care for her grandmother. That aching desire for the New York dance career wouldn't let up, so Jenifer decided to give it one more try. She found a nurse for grandma, and bought a one-way ticket to the Big Apple and several prearranged auditions. No sooner did she arrive, there was an emergency back in South Walton and she dropped everything to return.
Realizing that maybe this was where she belonged after all, Jenifer set her sights on more permanent employment. When she saw the ad for the used trailer, she jumped at it. After converting it to a juice bar and finding the perfect Seaside location, Raw & Juicy was born. Business was slow at the start, as many are, but she stuck it out. Realizing that the general public needed to be educated about the benefits of juicing and raw foods, she approached Robert Davis, the founder of Seaside, about establishing a local farmers market.
The rest is history. Not only is Raw & Juicy a successful and well known local business, but the legacy of the Seaside Farmers Market is one of the most popular and well attended coastal events. Not to mention the support it provides for local farmers and artisans. It's amazing how one person's efforts have gone on to impact so many.
When it comes to fulfilling our destiny, most of us don't always take the most direct route, but it's where we end up that counts:)
Tim Shepard, Broker/Owner
Destin Real Estate, LLC
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