8 Qs with a Silicon Prairie Founder: Meghann Schense of The Grove Juicery + Wellness Café
Meghann Schense is a seasoned entrepreneur with a vision for improving health and wellness in the Omaha community. Her latest venture, the Grove Juicery + Wellness Café, offers a variety of organic, raw, cold-pressed juices and other highly nutritious treats. Previously, Schense worked as an international fashion consultant; her company Esoteric Velvet was an influential…
Meghann Schense is a seasoned entrepreneur with a vision for improving health and wellness in the Omaha community. Her latest venture, the Grove Juicery + Wellness Café, offers a variety of organic, raw, cold-pressed juices and other highly nutritious treats. Previously, Schense worked as an international fashion consultant; her company Esoteric Velvet was an influential creative voice and mainstay in the Omaha fashion scene and beyond.
How did you get started?
I had been working in the fashion industry just under a decade. I loved my career. It had taken me all over the US, Canada and Europe. But after living out of a suitcase the last few years, I arrived at a point in my career where I had the opportunity to really sit down and think, “if I could do anything, what would it be?” And to my surprise, I knew right away: a health and wellness business—specifically, a juicery. Through my travels I found myself constantly seeking this product out on the road as a way for me to take care of my health even under the constraints of traveling 75 percent of the year.
Is your job what you thought you would be doing when you were a child?
Absolutely not! I studied Journalism and Textiles in college and used both my degrees for some time, but I would have never guessed my path would lead me to create The Grove. I have been very fortunate in my life to be surrounded by good, real food! Growing up in San Diego with my mom we had access to fresh produce all year round and in Omaha, my dad and step-mom always had a huge garden and grew our own food. I grew up on black bean burgers, tofu casseroles and lots of pasta. We never ate fast food, and sweet treats were for special occasions. These lessons have stuck with me as an adult and have contributed to my fortunate health and wellness now. I owe everything to my family for raising me with real food and a healthy, active lifestyle.
What are you building right now? Why is it important to you?
I am working to expand our market reach in Omaha right now. One of the reasons I choose to open The Grove in Omaha was because of the lack of access to healthy, raw, natural foods. In fact, our current location, 24th & Farnam, is considered a food desert because of how little access there is to food is in our downtown/midtown area in general. It is very important to me that healthy food and mental and physical wellness be accessible to all!
What is your favorite thing that you have ever built? Why was it your favorite?
The Grove Juicery is currently my most favorite thing I have built. I created and built the brand, products, space, team and customer base from the ground up. We hit our one-year anniversary this past Memorial Day and I couldn’t be prouder of what my team and I have grown and sustained for our community!
If you could improve one thing about your job or the place that you live, what would the change be?
Since entering the food industry, I have learned a lot about how our agriculture systems work and how they DO NOT work. I am shocked at how many farmers have shared their stories with us about practices in the Ag Industry changing over the past 20, 30, 50 years. They are deeply concerned about all the pesticides, which were originally created as chemical warfare for World War II, that are sprayed by plane over our entire state day after day after day. They are concerned about antibiotics and GMO’s in their fields and animal feed. They are also telling me how these practices directly relate to cancers and sickness in their communities. This has become an important part of our mission to spotlight these issues, support local farmers, source responsibly and eventually fight for policy change to diversify crops and ban chemicals that are polluting and poisoning our food, water and soil.
Was there anything looking back that you would do differently?
So many things. That’s the shtick of starting any business, right? Making mistakes, learning from them and getting back up to try again. I personally get tunnel vision at times, when I need to look up at the community around me and ask for help or advice when needed. Yes, I hear we have the “most famous couch” in Omaha, but we also have the world’s smallest walk-in cooler in our kitchen (it was my first time designing a kitchen); you win some, you lose some.
What could the SPN community do to help you succeed?
I appreciate SPN being a valuable resource of information on what is going on in our Midwest cities and highlighting businesses like ours and others that see that enormous potential in these communities.
If you could ask these questions to anyone, who would it be?
Right now, cliche I know, it would have to be Michelle and Barack Obama—the epitome of cool, calm, collected, not to mention intelligent, compassionate and strong!
JOIN THE MOVEMENT!
Sign up to receive daily updates in your inbox.