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Young entrepreneur brings experience, passion to Joose

Izzy Mecca recently took over ownership of Joose, a juice bar featuring plant-based cuisine.
John F. Russell

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS —  She is just 17 years old,  but when Izzy Mecca was presented with the opportunity to purchase Joose, there was no way she could let it pass her by.

“I would regret it for the rest of my life if I didn’t take up this opportunity,” Mecca said of the juice bar that offers plant-based cuisine and is also a homeopathic apothecary. “It would have been a bigger challenge for me down the line if I had to start from square one rather than take over this awesome place that is already here.”

Mecca said her age presented some hurdles, but she added that her mom, Angela who owns the Jeweler’s Mine, has been there along with several other adult friends to navigate the challenges.

But despite being the new owner, Mecca isn’t new to the business. She started working at Joose three years ago but said it was much more than a part-time job to fill the hours when she wasn’t at school.

“She knew that I was working here because I wanted to learn everything I could from her, not just the food she makes, but the homeopathic side of things because this has always been what I wanted to do,” Mecca said. “She could see how passionate I was about it … she wanted to see it go to someone that loved it, and had the same commitment to quality.”

For the past seven years, June Florence has run the business in Steamboat Springs, but her desire to become an independent consultant had inspired her to start looking for someone to take over the business.

Mecca had planned to take over the business, which is located at 2754 Downhill Drive, in February; however, things got moved up a few months earlier than expected after Florence decided to close the doors in July.

Owning Joose is a dream come true for Mecca who started attending classes at Colorado Mountain College Steamboat Springs her sophomore year of high school. She has already completed the work to earn her high school degree and is in the process of wrapping up the classes needed to complete her associate’s degree this year.

“I always planned on opening up a shop like this when I was done with school,” she said. “But then I fell in love with this place and the owner’s heart wasn’t really in it anymore, so it just felt right for me to take it over. It’s way easier to be here in a place with a name, a website and customer base that already exists than it is to start from scratch.”

Mecca said right now she is working a lot of of hours to make sure the business stays healthy and is also continuing to work to complete the rest of her schooling online.

In August, Joose reopened its doors offering a variety of cold-pressed juices made from plant-based ingredients as well as smoothies and coffees including the Bulletproof coffee. Joose also offers a full menu featuring breakfast bowls, salads, soups, wraps and plenty of grab-and-go items. Joose is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Mecca, who has been a vegan for four years, is looking forward to the chance to introduce people to a world without animal-based foods.

“People have this whole idea that veganism just being tofu, dirt and granola and like a salad with no dressing on it,” Mecca said. “But it can be so beautiful and so diverse and you can create basically everything but a steak, and people just need to be exposed to it. The best way to show people how great veganism can be is to give them some delicious food.”

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.


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