Entrepreneur Brett Gilliam says his fiancee likes to call him the “honorary mayor of Homestead” when he’s behind the counter at Live Fresh Juicery.
“Often our customers will come in just to talk to me or say hello,” he says. “It feels good to be able to get that kind of love from people who want to see you succeed, and who are just as invested in your business as you are. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
Gilliam is the co-owner of Live Fresh Juicery, a juice and smoothie bar he opened in June of 2019 with fiancee Catey Burget. Since its opening, Live Fresh Juicery has become a Homestead staple for delicious and nutritious cold-pressed juices, smoothies, and acai bowls. With his friendly spirit and community-minded attitude, it’s easy to see why Gilliam’s customers enjoy stopping in for a juice and a chat.
“I believe health and nourishment are the number-one keys to a successful life,” says Gilliam. “The specific benefits of juicing may require some education, but we know that vegetables are healthy for us. Each of our juices contains about two and a half to four pounds of fresh produce, which gives it a high nutrient density.”
Live Fresh Juicery’s range of cold-pressed juices has something for everyone, from the savory green Kale Yeah! to its refreshing Island Glow, and even their bright-red Don’t Stop The Beet, which might just make even the most veggie-wary kids mistake it for fruit punch. Live Fresh Juicery also offers smoothies, Instagram-worthy bowls, and additional wellness boosts like immunity shots and sea moss gel.
“We’re always looking to give the consumer the best experience ever,” says Gilliam. “Our belief is that ‘the greatest wealth is health.’”
Gilliam is a Homestead native and a graduate of Clarion University. After finishing college, he spent time living in Washington, D.C., and spent long hours consulting with small businesses. That’s when he became a fan of fresh juices and smoothies as an ideal way to get his nutrition on the go.
“When I moved back home, I could only find juice bars and smoothie shops in places like Shadyside and East Liberty,” he says. “I thought, ‘Why doesn’t my community have this?’ and “Why don’t communities that look like mine deserve this?’ We all deserve the right to have access to simple, healthy food options.”
As both a Black-owned and woman-owned business, Gilliam hopes that Live Fresh Juicery stands out as an example of how diverse and creative Black-owned businesses in Pittsburgh can be.
“We’re proud to be a minority-owned business and be part of such a tight-knit community in Pittsburgh,” Gilliam says. “I strive to represent the epitome of the idea that ‘You can do it!’ and that with the right attitude and support from your community, you can succeed.”
Gilliam was inspired to bring his business idea to Homestead, where his business gives back to the community both by providing nourishing, convenient foods and drinks as well as providing jobs in the area. Live Fresh Juicery employs one full-time employee and five part-time employees in addition to its co-owners, and Gilliam has big plans to grow his business.
“Expect to see a second Live Fresh location in summer 2021,” Gilliam says. “We’re working on our next location in the North Side, and after that, our goal is to be able to franchise. Once we show that we can succeed in areas that weren’t thought of as places where a juice bar could succeed, we can continue to grow. Someday we’d love to see Live Fresh juices everywhere — even places like grocery stores and convenience stores.”
Despite having to spend more time working on his growing business than in it these days, Gilliam still feels deeply connected to his community in Homestead and is always striving to find new ways to serve the customers who have supported Live Fresh Juicery from the beginning.
“I would like to have some self-sustainability in Homestead,” he says. “Repurposing our produce as compost and opening a community garden are goals we’re working on because we always want to be giving back to the community in some way.”
Visit Live Fresh Juicery in Homestead for a healthy (and delicious!) pick-me-up or check out their website to learn more about their juice cleanse options.This content was provided by a local, independent contributor to Made in PGH, a lifestyle blog.