Darris McDowell is ready to take the next adventure with his business.
The Squeeze Juice Bar, originally located at 37 Main St. in the city of Cortland, is set to re-open at its new location at 105 Main Street this Saturday at noon.
McDowell, owner of the popular juice bar since October of 2017, knew for about a year it was time to expand his business.
“It was a blessing to be here (at 37 Main St.), but I feel like I’ve reached my peak,” he said. “(My business) grew enough to move my location (at 105 Main St.). It’s a better location and better situation for me.”
The Squeeze’s menu consists of over 30 different smoothie flavors, and over 10 juice flavor varieties. The business also includes ginger shots and protein shakes. There’s a New York City-style food menu as well, which includes beef patties, chicken and steak sandwiches, chopped cheese, and more.
Once McDowell gets used to his business’s new location, he may consider adding burrito/taco Tuesdays and fish fry Fridays to the menu, he said.
The Squeeze’s new location will have hours of operation targeted at the nightlife. Mondays through Thursdays the juice bar is open from noon to 10 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 3 a.m.
The brand-new hub for the juice bar comes with a large sit-down area and a bigger kitchen than the business’s original location, McDowell said.
McDowell, 36, said since his business is closer to bars in the downtown area, he can serve food to college students late at night.
“College kids always want to eat after going to the bars,” he said.
McDowell, a Bronx native who has lived in Cortland for the past 18 years, came up with the idea for The Squeeze due to the popularity of juice bars in NYC.
Once his mother passed away a few years ago, McDowell was motivated to open his own business.
“I knew with my juice bar idea, I started chasing the people who wanted to feel good by eating good food and being around a good vibe,” he said.
McDowell’s business picked up when college students began to visit the juice bar more often. A smoothie known as Finding Nemo — which consists of strawberries, mangoes, pineapples and papaya — became the most popular flavor combination at The Squeeze.
When the COVID-19 pandemic started, his business flourished when he added ginger shots to the juice bar’s menu. McDowell saw it as a remedy to fight the virus.
“With this business, you have to get creative and roll with the punches,” he said.
McDowell said there are two moments in the past that put his business on the map: When Planet Fitness asked him to make smoothies at its grand opening in Cortland, and when McDowell had a billboard of his business put up in the city last September.
“I’m proud of the expansion. I came a long way from it being just an idea,” he said. “Sometimes, you have to put your ideas to life.”