Pastor Ryan Hablitzel is gearing up to open Press Together, owned by the Nevada-Utah Conference, as a ministry offering raw organic cold-pressed juice — and community.
Question: You are planning to open a new juice bar, called Press Together, in downtown Ogden, Utah, under the auspices of the Nevada-Utah Conference. Is this the first juice bar owned by the official Adventist church, do you know? Why a juice bar?
Answer: Press Together is owned by the Nevada-Utah Conference and is governed by the Nevada-Utah Executive Committee and administration. I’m the director of the project.
Why a juice bar? Because everyone loves juice. Ellen White wrote about these types of centers of influence and they just happen to be super trending right now.
We are opening our pilot location in Ogden, Utah on historic 25th Street in what my designer told me is the best spot in the entire city. It’s truly perfect. We couldn’t pick a better spot to launch.
The juice bar will be located in a 6,000 square-foot space at the corner of 25th and Lincoln in downtown Ogden, which used to house a furniture store. The space serves as the north entrance to a planned high-end food court.
We are shooting for an opening date of April 30, 2018. We are submitting the final permits now and are beginning renovation.
We are focused on perfecting the model in this location for one year before duplication.
The big dream for Press Together is to be in every major city around the world representing the Seventh-day Adventist Church, but that is in the Lord’s hands. One step at a time. For now, we need to get the model right.
Abel and Jazmin Alvarado have been hired to become Press Together’s first couple team employed in team ministry. Abel is Press Together’s pastor and operations manager. Jazmin is the children’s ministry director and juicery specialist.
Press Together is not just a juice bar — it’s a church.
We are partnering with Milton Adams of Simple Church at Home to supplement our ministry. We don’t do programs — we do community.
Can you tell us a little bit about the menu and how it was designed?
Our signature item is our raw organic cold-pressed juice.The ingredients are all organic, and the complete list appears on our website. We also do organic smoothies and bowls.
Who do you anticipate your customers will be? Will the juice bar make a profit, or is it a non-profit business?
Press Together is a non-profit entity of the Nevada-Utah Conference.
Our customers will be anyone interested in cold-pressed juice!
We also have a program to sell bottled juice to businesses that want to promote health.
You will sell juice six days a week — what happens on Sabbath?
We are open Sunday all day, and Monday through Friday from 7am to 3pm.
Sabbath we are closed for sales and use the space as a launch point for mission. We want to do ministry flash mobs, and practical ministry in the community and in each other’s homes.
Will Press Together only be a cafe that sells juice and healthy foods? Will you also host events: cooking demonstrations, or things like that?
We are not really into cooking demonstrations right now. We are more focused on ministry and creating a successful and sustainable model.
How many employees will there be? Will they be employed by the church?
Everyone employed by Press Together will be a Seventh-day Adventist.
We are partnered with the Nevada-Utah Conference Literature Evangelism department. Individuals who go through the NUC Summer Youth Rush Program receive priority consideration for employment opportunities at Press Together.
You are a full-time pastor, right? Will you also be the manager of the juice bar? How will you have time?
I pastor the Ogden Seventh-day Adventist Church, Logan Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the Community Vineyard. I’m the visionary for the project, but I have a strong board of directors and support from my conference administration.
I’ve been a pastor in the Nevada-Utah Conference since 2011. I first pastored the Moab, Castle Valley, Price district where Daystar Academy is located. I served on Search and Rescue in Grand County while serving in Moab. It was pretty rad.
Now I live in Willard, Utah and I have served as pastor of this three-church district for four-and-a-half years.
I believe Press Together was started in Atlanta, Georgia. Were the founders Adventists? Why did they close?
Press Together was founded by Jason Churchill and Jared Thurmon in 2013. Jason and Jared are committed Seventh-day Adventist young people. Jared moved to a job with the Adventist Review and left Jason in charge. Jason ran a central bottling-style facility for raw organic cold-pressed juice in the One Atlanta Plaza in only a 350 square-foot area at the entrance of the high-rise in Buckhead. People would walk past the smell of a cold pressed juicer every day on their way to the office.
Jason also had a store about five miles away. He made smoothies and bowls fresh at both locations.
Jason even supplied the Atlanta Hawks with a custom cooler in their locker room. The doctor was encouraging the players to drink the juice!
Press Together was a growing and thriving business in Georgia. It was a proven and sustainable business. They simply sold it because the Lord was leading. They sold the business to the Nevada-Utah Conference because they saw the potential of the mission. They were very generous on the price with us and sold it to us at the cost of the equipment. Probably less, actually.
Jason now works for ADRA.
How did the Nevada-Utah Conference come to buy Press Together?
I knew Jason from when I pastored at Daystar Academy in the Moab district. Jason’s wife was a teacher there for a year or two.
We reconnected at the right time and I worked the process of fundraising and legally acquiring the business under the Nevada-Utah Conference. Having this package has really helped us take this project to the next level.
And you have plans for additional locations besides Ogden?
We want to expand to Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada. After that we want to open it up for anybody in the global church.
We also have a small juice cart and a juice trailer that was donated to us. It needs restoring but will probably be ready to tour the state of Utah and we will be able to show up at all the church events in the mobile trailer.
So you really think this is a model that can be replicated in other conferences?
Yep, that’s the plan. We want to go worldwide. We already have an undercover location in an undisclosed part of the world. For security reasons that is all I can say!
Do you and your wife and kids all juice? Do you consider yourselves super healthy eaters?
My wife and I were raised vegetarian. I think we are healthy but we definitely are not extreme by any means. I love to work out, and stay fit, as does my wife.
I have always toyed around with juice, but never planned to become the Juicebar Pastor!
Do you think the Adventist church should do more in promoting its health message?
Well, I don’t know. The health message really has only scratched the surface in our church. Most of our stuff is super ineffective, except for our hospitals and sanitariums.
Photos courtesy of Press Together and Ryan Hablitzel.
Alita Byrd is Interviews Editor for Spectrum.
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