Elan provides healthy alternatives to the community


Health conscious patrons at the Root of Life Juicery in Huntington Park can be rest assured the food they buy there has no unnecessary added sugars.

Nutritional Science major Maria Pacheco is co-owner alongside her business partner, Robert Valdez.

Together, they strive to offer healthier, natural alternatives to the community that are locally sourced and affordable.

“I wanted to get a staple of our culture. Juicing is a big part of being Latino. I grew up with that. I knew I wanted to be have a healthier alternative, without all the extra sugar,” Pacheco said.

Despite its name, Root of Life Juicery offers more than just pressed juice.

The plant-based establishment offers an array of selections from customizable açaí bowls, to a fresh new take on Pad Thai.

“I realized that every time I wanted to eat something healthy, there were no options here. We grew up on burritos and tacos,” Pacheco said, “If I wanted something else, I would have to go to Pasadena.”

The store opened its doors last March, but its inception began with a humble dream that sprouted at their local farmers market in 2013.

kale, yeah— The Green Thunder is paired alongside a colorful açaí bowl at Root of Life Juicery in Huntington Park. cn/ Kaleen Luu

“I was getting into holistic medicine, natural ingredients and I wanted to share our creation,” Pacheco said.

Root of Life now offers a multitude of different juices, but they began with one simple creation.

“We started with small cups of our juice at a booth,” Pacheco said, “The first one we came up with is our Green Thunder, which was Robert’s idea. A lot of people gave us great feedback, so we kept going.”

Once the seed was planted, the idea of opening the Root of Life Juicery seemed natural to the duo, who said that the name comes from the fact that the store is so rooted in the community.

“This is our baby. We’re a team. People told me to open shop elsewhere, but I said no. There’s a real need for us here,” Pacheco said.

Upon entry, visitors are immediately greeted with a cheery welcome.

Art, donated by people from the community, decorate the walls.

In the corner of the shop, a shelf is filled with a variety of textbooks.

“We want this to be a place where people can sit down and relax,” Pacheco said, “We have the bookcase for people who want to donate their books for others, and we welcome anyone to take a book if they need it.”

The couple said they hope for the store to be a haven for people in the area looking for a different but healthy choice. They embrace new patrons with open arms.

The wide array of options can be overwhelming to a new customer, but Valdez said he is proud to explain the menu.

“I like to ask people what benefits they hope to get, and we go from there,” Valdez said, “It’s so rewarding to see people enjoy our product. They get to know what’s inside. For me, just hearing that they like it, that’s amazing.”

berry good— Co-owner Maria Pacheco smiles as she picks out ingredients for a healthy smoothie at Root of Life Juicery in Huntington Park. cn/Kaleen Luu

The two attribute the continued success of their operation to the people who have followed them since their beginning.

It’s their support that keeps Root of Life Juicery from wilting, and Pacheco said they owe it to new customers that keep their business flourishing.

“When I’m having a long day, I remind myself of why I started: my vision and dream for the future. I want to make a difference in my community,” Pacheco said.

Their passion and drive is what nurtured Root of Life Juicery, and allows it to continue to bloom.

“There’s been so much red tape for a small business like us, and it was discouraging. It took us months to get all the permits before we could open, but I was determined,” Pacheco said, “We finally opened on a Sunday.”

Root of Life Juicery is located at 2925 E. Florence Ave. in Huntington Park, CA 90255.

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