It’s no surprise that the pandemic has changed the way businesses operate. ELXR Juice Labs, Toronto’s favourite stop for delicious, nutrient dense raw juice, saw a shift in the way health conscious Torontonians approached healthy eating during the pandemic. For an inside look into the way ELXR pivoted, read our exclusive interview with CEO Dan Gelshteyn.
How has the pandemic changed the way ELXR operates?
It was definitely a big transition for us at the beginning. At the start of the pandemic we were forced to close all of our retail locations and pause the majority of our wholesale and catering accounts, which was also the case for most brands under the LoveKind umbrella. While we are currently operating as a grab-and-go café which does constitute an essential service, we have only been able to reopen two out of five of our locations (Yorkville Village Mall and Bayview Village Mall). Ultimately, we knew we had to very quickly pivot our strategy and focus our efforts on expanding our ecommerce and online delivery service. Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve worked tirelessly to expand our reach offering free delivery to expanded zones across the greater Toronto area. We are also constantly working with third parties such as Uber Eats to continue to provide additional service streams to our clients.
Was the New Years “health kick” different this year?
On one hand, I think the pandemic has made people put more emphasis and care on how they treat their bodies and what they consume in an effort to be the healthiest version of themselves. On the other hand, I think we can all also agree that being home all the time has resulted in more snacking and a greater potential to pick up unhealthy eating habits. In any case, the new year is always a great opportunity to reset and we have definitely seen a demand this year for cleanses and health programs to kick-start resolutions.
Have you seen a change in the way people approach prioritizing their health?
In terms of the health and wellness industry, I think consumers were already becoming the most educated and conscious they have ever been. People are realizing more and more that committing to a “healthy lifestyle” is not just about prioritizing your physical health, but it’s also about what you consume and making the time to check in on yourself mentaly. Together, small practices can add up and directly influence your overall well being. We always hear about “building a strong foundation” but the truth is, when it comes to your health, a solid foundation isn’t a “set it and forget it” mentality – it’s a moving goal which requires constant maintenance.
As a to-go friendly spot, have you noticed more traffic now that people are limited to grab and go?
We’ve definitely seen a huge pick up in sales in our online business, but with lockdown orders still in effect, our retail locations remain slow. We are really grateful for the support we’ve received from our community thus far and will continue to invest in new partnership opportunities and marketing to help drive our business. As an example, we’ve recently launched an Apothecary extension in-store and soon to be online. This consists of a curated range of small-batch, locally-sourced and community-focused non-food products from like-minded brands like Wooden Spoon, Beekeepers Naturals, Yellow Beauty, and more for a more holistic approach on wellness for our clients.
How can people make healthy choices on delivery apps when they are faced with so many fast food options at the top of their explore page?
If you’re serious about making changes and adopting new wellness practices, I always recommend the buddy system to help with accountability. As part of this exercise you can share your list of health goals with a participating friend or group of friends and set up daily check in to help motivate one another to reach your goals. Life is also all about balance and It’s also okay to indulge your cravings once in a while, especially if it means you’re supporting local Toronto restaurants in the process.
What is the biggest message you wish to convey to Torontonians during the lockdown?
I think it’s important to not put too much pressure on ourselves to be perfect right now. Pandemic guilt is a real thing, especially when we start to compare ourselves to others. I’ve personally adopted daily rituals like gratitude journaling and long walks that have helped me keep to my wellness goals. Although, this may not work for you and it’s important to find your own rhythm and practices through trial and error. I also find that diet has a huge impact on my overall mood and energy levels. It’s super important to take care of yourself from the inside out and if I’m starting to feel a little sluggish I’ll look for new healthy recipes to get me excited about eating clean.