Coming home from vacation a couple years ago, Jeanea Bandi and her husband Stephen were brainstorming on how to grow their home businesses: JCB Creations, her cookies and cakes, and Big Easy Woodwork, his reclaimed wood furniture. They decided to open Patchworks Market, a space where they'd not only sell their own products but also offer studios to artists Stephen met through art markets. "We named it Patchworks Market because it was a patchwork of different concepts under one roof," Jeanea says.
In November 2011, Jeanea opened d'Juice (8237 Oak St., 504-324-9933; www.d-juice.com) in Patchworks Market. "Our original plan for Patchworks did not have a fresh juice and smoothie component," Jeanea says. But after leaving a job at a new-to-New Orleans smoothie chain, she decided she wanted to create a local, fresh smoothie alternative. D'Juice specializes in whole-fruit smoothies, with no sugars or syrups added, and fresh, made-to-order juices. Customers are encouraged to create their own blends.
The impetus behind the business came from being a mom, Jeanea says. "I have a 10-year-old son who, like most kids that age, does not like vegetables but loves smoothies. I'm always looking for healthy options for my family. So when I find one, I like to provide it to others."
The atmosphere at Patchworks is funky, warm and inviting, with local artwork for sale on the walls, comfy chairs and plenty of electrical outlets for those with laptops. "We find that once people come in, they want to stay and enjoy the open doors, the background music and the eclectic artwork," Jeanea says.
The nature of Patchworks is always changing, and the owners are in the midst of adding another concept to the roster. "Starting Nov. 18 (the Oak Street Po-Boy Festival), we will be launching tsp. (teaspoon), an upscale, imported tea and micro-roast coffee concept," Jeanea says. "It will evolve over the next few months to incorporate local honeys, jams, chai and other offerings." These items include scones, muffins and cake by the slice.
The menu at d'Juice is constantly updated — for example, there are seasonal blends with pumpkin in November. A wide array of fruits and vegetables is always available, including carrots, apples, strawberries, bananas, mangoes, peaches, oranges, blueberries, pears, beets, cucumbers, ginger, celery, kale and spinach.
Jeanea's favorite customers are the ones who initially scrunch up their faces when she suggests they try a green drink or veggie-smoothie — only to express surprise at how refreshing and delicious these beverages are: "I always kid that once you are hooked — and you will be — you'll be coming back in saying, 'Gimme d'Juice!'"