In the early days of the Dripping Root, Catiesha Pierson fit her juice business in between working a full-time job and raising her son as a single mother. “I would sit at my desk and research every day,” she says. “My mind wasn’t at work—it was in my dreams.”
Back in 2013, Pierson had tried juicing as a healthier alternative to store-bought juice, a practice that research shows provides more nutrients per ounce. She learned the benefits of different fruits and vegetables, like guava and passionfruit, along with unique ingredients like Blue Majik, an extract of spirulina pigment.
In 2018, she began posting her concoctions on social media, and many of her followers expressed interest. Through positive reviews on Instagram, Pierson built a solid delivery-based clientele and began dreaming bigger about a business rooted in community, wellness, and culture. When customer demand required 100% of Pierson’s attention, she quit her job, “with no real plan,” and began looking for an official home for the Dripping Root.
She found a space and signed a lease in south Minneapolis’ Howe neighborhood in March of 2020. The pandemic soon brought things to a halt. By summer, her mother, Andrea Witt, had set up a GoFundMe to raise seed money for Minnesota’s first Black-owned, standalone juice bar. She exceeded her goal of $70,000 in just a couple months, with a total, at press time, of almost $74,000—something Pierson had never imagined. “I shared my story, other people shared my story, people saw the vision,” she says. “It became more than my dream coming to reality; it literally became something people were super excited about and wanted to see thrive.”
With the funds, Pierson could build out the space. Today, the store itself is vibrant—the perfect addition to the area. Dark wood, accented with bright pink and white, is met with a full wall mural of abstract fruits and vegetables and the tag, “When you feel good, you glow different.” A window bar and a community-style table create a perfect environment for guests to connect over fresh Greentox juice, featuring kale, cucumber, pineapple, apple, wheatgrass, lime, kiwi, and celery; or a Blacker the Berry smoothie bowl, with Acai berries, activated charcoal, and banana. During the day, sunlight pours in and makes the space feel almost tropical.
This space could be exactly what the community needs. In the past year, south Minneapolis has been the site of two police killings and several nights of unrest. Pierson’s business also enters a health-and-wellness industry with a white-centric reputation. On average, fitness center locations trend toward neighborhoods with higher percentages of white residents, according to Bloomberg research. Dripping Root has an opportunity to not only nurture life centered in wellness, but also effect foundational change as a safe space for Black and Brown folks.
Pierson seeks to create a coffee shop vibe where all customers are treated with love and kindness. Guests can just pick up and go, or sit down and enjoy a smoothie bowl or a juice with a friend. The culture she hopes to foster is built upon the betterment of self in connection to others. Wellness is what goes into your body and how you move it, as well as where you spend time and the people you’re with.
While the Dripping Root is largely for the community, it’s also, in a sense, by the community. “The community is already incorporated into the space,” says Pierson, of the outpouring of GoFundMe support. “The community has watched the process from the beginning to end and helped contribute to what is now here.”
Find out more at thedrippingroot.com