Organic juice bar coming to Schenectady’s Albany Street

The structure at 1132 Albany St. in Schenectady that William Knight plans to use for a juice parlor.

The structure at 1132 Albany St. in Schenectady that William Knight plans to use for a juice parlor.

SCHENECTADY — Following a decade in the military, William Knight is now focused on the business of juicing.

The 29-year-old Army veteran grew up on Long Island, but would visit his mother in Schenectady while attending college in Buffalo. It was during his visits to the city when Knight noticed the lack of available healthy food options.

He’s hoping to change that early next year with the opening of his first business, Elite Juice Parlor, at 1132 Albany St. The city’s Planning Commission, on Wednesday, approved site plans for the organic juice bar this past week and the business is slated to open sometime in February, after Knight secures the final permits to operate the facility from the city.

“I’m just getting out of the military. It’s my first business and something I’ve always wanted to do,” he said moments after his proposal was approved.

In addition to selling freshly squeezed juices, Knight also plans to sell salads out of the 1,200-square-foot facility, which is currently vacant after housing a number of businesses in the past, including a mobile phone store.

After daily visits to similar juice bars downstate, Knight had planned to open the shop on Long Island, but decided to head north after realizing there would be less competition and a need for healthy food options.

Knight is hoping to move to Schenectady to operate the business in the coming weeks.

“I didn’t grow up in this area but I’m from an area that’s similar and I feel like it will really help the community,” he told Planning Commission members.

A number of juice bars already exist in the city, but access to healthy and affordable foods remains a struggle for many residents, particularly those from low-income backgrounds that don’t have access to transportation. The city lacks grocery stores but has no shortage of corner markets and convenience stores that sell fresh fruits and vegetables.

Mary Moore Wallinger, chair of the Planning Commission, acknowledged the lack of food access after commission members voted to approve the juice bar.

“I hear from community members all the time that there’s a real lack of access to fresh healthy foods,” she said. “I really appreciate this being brought to a neighborhood where we know this is needed.”

Knight, meanwhile, said he plans to start small, but has high hopes for the business going forward.

“Right now I’m just going to be my own employee; I’m going to run the story myself,” he said. “Hopefully it gets bigger and I need a thousand employees.”

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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