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Juice bar and health food store opens in Gary

The Vibrations Health, Wellness and Juice Bar opened in Gary’s Miller neighborhood.

GARY – A Chicago Tribune writer once addressed Gary’s gritty reputation in a travel piece that recommended a day trip there, asking “how bad can a town with a Shakespeare company be?”

Maybe it’s time to update that with “how bad can a town with a juice bar be?”

Gary is now one of the few Northwest Indiana communities with a juice bar, now that Vibrations Health, Wellness and Juice Bar opened in the Miller section of Gary. The health food store and juice bar is located at 615 Lake St. on Miller’s main commercial strip.

The store offers all-natural body soaps, organic teas, healthy snacks, Bai antioxidant infusion drinks, and honey that’s harvested locally in the Miller area. The juice bar offers smoothies, wheatgrass shots, chai lattes with hemp milk, and pressed juice made with ingredients like carrots, beats, celery, apple and kale.

Customers can add extras like cod liver oil, ginger, ginseng, royal jelly and wheat germ. This month, Vibrations is offering one free extra per week.

“We list the benefits and tell the clientele what’s good for them,” owner Rebecca Raspberry said. “We want to grow the education component to teach customers about health and healthy living. We’d like to have a yoga evening and meditation and talks about essential oils.”

Raspberry, who moved to Miller eight or nine years ago and recently fled corporate America, has been interested in health and wellness her whole life. She was raised in a pioneering health food store, the House of Gandhi in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood.

Her father Marque Raspberry ran the store for 14 years before it closed in 1983.

“Eating healthy is all I know,” she said. “The other kids at school would eat Ho Hos and Twinkies and wonder why my food looked so different.”

Instead, she ate freshly ground peanut butter or carrot chips in her school cafeteria. She’d go on 10-mile runs with her dad, and then they’d eat some spinach fresh out of the garden.

She didn’t care for such a lifestyle as a child but wrote her dad a long letter thanking him when she came of age.

Raspberry thought a health food store and juice bar was long overdue in Miller, where many residents are frequent beach-goers who stay active. She plans to continue to add herbs and other inventory, tailoring it to what people want.

Vibrations has a small deck out back and will add a few tables on the Lake Street sidewalk, and Raspberry plans to add a small menu with sandwiches and salads.

“We want people to treat it as a hangout, sit in the juice bar and network,” she said.

Vibrations is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, call (219) 427-1175 or visit vibrations615@comcast.net.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.