By Chris Illich
Nicole Pajak of Small Batch Co. is off to a good start in 2016.
Pajak recently opened her storefront at 4614 Queen St. in downtown Niagara Falls at the end of January and has already been rewarded for her efforts – on February 26, Pajak was awarded the Young Entrepreneur award at the Niagara Entrepreneur Awards.
Small Batch Co. started roughly a year ago, selling granola at the Niagara on the Lake farmers market and has now transformed into a cold-press juicery.
“I always wanted to open up a cold-press juicery because I love it and there’s no one in the Niagara Region selling it. I figured I already had the space, so why shouldn’t I do it,” she said.
The storefront at 4614 Queen St. was being used as her office. The windows were papered up and she was solely using the space for the kitchen at the back of the store. At the beginning of January she decided she wanted to transform it into something more serviceable and opened up a short few weeks later.
“It’s been a great response so far. It’s surprising seeing all the people that you would never assume juice in the area,” said Pajak.
“We’ve been getting a ton of repeat customers and a lot of people have been hearing about our one-day cleanses, so we’ve had a lot of corporate orders and groups of friends that want to do the cleanse, so that’s really nice.”
Small Batch Co. features six different juices every season. The winter menu is heavy on the root vegetables and apples, and will change over come spring, depending on what’s available locally.
So what’s the difference between a cold-press juicer and one that you’d find in the department store?
“Those are centrifugal juicers. They have a high-speed blade that cuts up the juice, so it heats up the product and kills a lot of the enzymes and nutrients. It’s a great option for home juice but you’ll want to drink it within 20 minutes before it oxidizes really quickly,” she explained.
“A cold-press juicer has two hydraulic plates that squish the product. This way it’s not heating up the product. It still doesn’t have a long shelf life, but it’s about 72 hours where juice in grocery stores can last up to 45-60 days because they are pasteurized.”
Pajak hopes to expand into the Niagara Region and continue to grow the Small Batch Co. brand.
“It’s been rough at times, but it’s been the greatest journey so far and I can’t wait to keep on growing,” she said. “I’ve learned so much about myself and so much about business and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
She currently has her eyes on a few locations for additional retail outposts. Until then you can go and visit her at her Queen St. location and try the freshest juice in the Region.
Small Batch Co. juice can also be found at Craft Arts Market on James St. in St. Catharines.