Groov owners blend together friendship and passion for veganism

Groov owners blend together friendship and passion for veganism

Groov owners blend together friendship and passion for veganism
March 05
17:09 2019

Pale light and brisk wind filters in through the open window of Kennedy Kitching’s kitchen as she chops up romaine lettuce and celery. A jar containing a scoby, which contains the bacteria used to make kombucha, rests on the counter. Beside Kitching, her friend and business partner Micheal Garcia squeezes the juice from the blended vegetables through a cheesecloth, leaving only the dark green pulp behind.

Kitchings and Garcia, both 20, often make juices and kombucha in this kitchen for their business Groov. Since November of 2018, they have been creating and delivering made-to-order drinks for customers who request them through Groov’s Instagram account.

Groov co-founder Kennedy Kitchings chops celery for a bottle of Groov juice. Each bottle is made to order. Image by: Trevor Seibert.

“It started whenever Michael showed up at my house with a scoby to make kombucha,” Kitchings said. “I also just make juice all the time and whenever I do make some, my friends always want to try it. When Michael showed up with that scoby, we were both just like, ‘Let’s just sell it.'”

Kitchings has been vegan for over three years and so has Garcia, though he grew up vegetarian. It was important to them to have Groov reflect that same lifestyle.

“We just wanted to make a healthy product that is available to anybody who wants to drink it,” Kitchings said. “That’s why we did the whole vegan, raw, organic kind of thing.”

Kitchings and Garcia initially gave their homemade juice away to friends who wanted to try some, but soon they were being offered money for them. Kitchings and Garcia said being in Denton has been advantageous for Groov because of the city’s healthy “vibe.”

“We really brand on the fact that we are Denton locals and that we are selling locally because Denton locals love their local stuff,” Kitchings said.

Kitchings and Garcia formed their friendship after they met while working at Spiral Diner together. Their friendship was something that “had to happen,” Garcia said.

“The first week of me working there, [Michael and I] just look at each other and we both go, ‘We are kind of the same person,’” Kitchings said. “Then we just became best friends. We both are very organized, productive people so we like to get stuff done. I think we just work really well together. We really understand each other’s visions.”

The two co-founders enjoy being able to both have fun and work together. The connection they share makes it as if they are “reading each other’s minds at all times,” Kitchings said.

“We can also just be in the same room but do separate things, which I think is making Groov work because we’re able to delegate stuff to each other,” Garcia said.

Groov coworker Ashley Givens says she is proud of the work Kitchings and Garcia have done.

“I’m really excited about Groov for them,” Givens said. “They are making something for the people in their lives, essentially, and in their community.”

Coming up with the name for Groov was a bit of a challenge because the first batch of names they liked turned out to already be juice brands. They settled on Groov because of its simplicity and the fact that Garcia liked the look of the double O’s on the plain white labels.

“We are hoping to use [our name] in the way we market, too,” Garcia said. “Maybe use clever captions [like], ‘Go into the Groov’ or something.”

The simplicity of Groov’s aesthetic is intended to match the production of their juices and kombucha.

Kennedy Kitchings pours the finished product, a juice made of celery and lettuce, into a clear bottle to be packaged. Groov encourages its customers to send back their bottles so they can be reused for other batches. Image by: Trevor Seibert.

“We want all the ingredients to be really minimal and simple without anything extra that isn’t needed, so we put that in with our packaging as well to make it look simple,” Kitchings said.

Using Instagram is their main business platform, it helps that Kitching has practiced with audience engagement and manages Spiral’s social media.

“I feel like I have a lot of experience with marketing in that way, so it has been pretty easy,” Kitchings said. “It is all about being consistent with posting and getting your name out there as much as possible. Even if it’s a little annoying to other people, you gotta do it.”

Kombucha was the only drink they planned to focus on at first, but Kitchings and Garcia decided to include juices because they wanted to provide locals with a variety of healthy beverages. Kitchings hopes to eventually start offering vegan snack foods as well.

“With purchasing kombucha at the store, [manufacturers] already add a lot of preservatives and stuff because it sits on a shelf for so long, so it kind of defeats the purpose of the health aspect behind it,” Garcia said. “Advertising [Groov] and actually making it local, it’s like you know exactly what is going into it. When we get an order, we make it right then and there or make it the day they want to pick it up. We are trying to make it as fresh as possible. We don’t add anything crazy to it so it’s still good for you.”

Jo Hightshoe, who has been a friend of Garcia’s for six years, is also a vegan. Garcia was an influence on her journey to veganism.

“[I] think it’s so cool [Garcia] has started Groov since it’s healthy drinks for a lower cost than a lot of juice brands you find at stores,” Hightshoe said. “We went vegan around the same time, so he helped me make the transition.” 

Garcia and Kitchings are vegan for health and environmental reasons and also because of their love for animals. They suggest people who want to be more conscious about their consumption should base their eating around fruits and vegetables and buy food in bulk.

“[Veganism] has just completely changed my entire life and my perspective on everything,” Kitchings said.

Featured Image: Groov Drinks was started in 2018 and offers customers the ability to request variations upon pre-designed, made-to-order juice flavors. Image by: Trevor Seibert.

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Nikki Johnson-Bolden

Nikki Johnson-Bolden

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