Kali-O's Juice Box Brings Freshness to the Jersey Shore

Christina Diecidue

Marketing Project Coordinator

Experts at exuding positive energy, Kali-O’s Juice Box is capitalizing on the positive in each and every day by building a brand full of zest and a passion for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Turning An Idea Into A Reality

Sisters and co-founders Kerry and Alli O’Neill (“Kali-O’s”) are a dynamic entrepreneurial duo hailing from Point Pleasant Borough. In college, the pair discovered their typical American diet was not giving them the energy needed to be productive or physically make them feel like they are aiding their bodies. The idea and importance of eating healthier was planted in their minds, however, while Kerry was traveling the world, she noticed other countries’ focus on a smarter diet.  Primarily dependent on fresh fruits and vegetables, Kerry took her findings back to Point Pleasant and immediately consulted her sister with a plan of action.

With very few healthy eateries at the Jersey Shore, Kerry and Alli looked to capitalize on this untouched market.  Colonial Bakery in Lavalette, owned by the pair’s parents, housed Kerry and Alli’s first venture into distributing nutritional, yet flavorful food to consumers.  As it was a seasonal bakery, the two women got a taste of what it was like to interact with customers, try new healthy recipes, and establish a business as partners.

Kerry came up with the idea of creating a juice bar.  The goal was to provide fresh, healthy smoothie options for those interested in bettering their current lifestyle.  Although there were plans to execute the juice bar idea, Superstorm Sandy devastated the bakery in 2012.  Much of the Jersey Shore was affected by the natural disaster, and all that was left to do was rebuild.  So that’s exactly what the O’Neill family did.

The Race To The Finish Line

Kerry was anxious her idea of creating a full juice bar would be snatched up in time, so the O’Neill’s made it a priority to get the bakery back into tip-top shape.  During the summer of 2013, the bakery reopened and so did the juice bar in the back of the store.  Kerry and Alli enlisted the help of others, and their tasty health shop was a success.The sisters found their concoctions did better than they imagined they would within the first year. But with a great idea comes appropriate adjustments.The women knew that they needed their own space in order to grow the business and attract new customers.  

A second location opened in Ortley Beach, attached to a beach store.  Although slow in the beginning, by mid-summer the acai bowl and pitaya shop was a smashing hit.  Customers raved about the fresh, delicious taste of the bowls, juices, and smoothies, and gushed about the fact that all of the ingredients in the food are natural and overall healthy for your body.  It was a shop like no other, and both locals and tourists alike enjoyed these sweet treats.

Open For Business

At the end of 2015, Kerry and Alli wished to expand to a year round location.  Thus far, Kali-O’s was only opened seasonally in both Lavalette and Ortley Beach.  Sticking at the shore, both girls agreed that setting up shop in Point Pleasant was only right.  In April of 2016, the year round location opened on Arnold Ave.

Each location remains successful and of interest to those currently keeping up with the health trend.  Although Kerry and Alli expanded Kalli-O’s fairly quickly, the two had quite the strategy behind their growth model.  

From Word of Mouth to Social Gurus

When first advertising the Kali-O’s business located in the back of the bakery, word of mouth and promotional sign placements on different local buildings were the primary sources of generating buzz.  With a minimal marketing budget, Kerry and Alli would reach out to bloggers and local publications to advertise their business. Through print ads in local newspapers, guide books, and maps for shore visitors, the name began to grow.  

The most enthusiasm for the brand stemmed from their social media presence. The brand started to move into the digital spectrum by experimenting with Instagram and Snapchat. Although their Snapchat account did not stick around for long, Instagram is what truly made an impact on the brand as a whole. Kerry and Alli found that the Kali-O’s brand fit perfectly on Instagram. They are able to show social media users exactly what their products look like, what ingredients are actually in their products, and the health benefits that come from their delicious snacks.  

Stirring the Traditional & Digital Pot

The O’Neill sisters continue to mix both traditional and digital marketing strategies to generate new business. Kali-O’s has custom postcards that are distributed to realtors and hotels in the area to spread the word about their business, in addition to their team members handing out information cards to beachgoers in the heat of the summer. Connecting with the consumers is a priority in Kerry and Alli’s eyes, and it has proven to be incredibly successful.

Moving into digital, Kali-O’s employed a local high school student in one of it’s locations that beamed with a passion for web design.  The student knew the brand’s story, what Kerry and Alli were trying to portray, and what would be important for the end users.  With that said, she created a fully-functional site that houses the energy and positive spirit the O’Neill sisters want to come across in their tasty health food shop.  

The Social Media Spike

On the Kali-O’s Instagram account, you may find photos of acai, pitaya, and tropical bowls, paired with beautiful beach views and inspirational sayings.  The juice box team promotes contests on the platform and encourages all employees to take pictures of their sweet creations for hungry customers.  A feed that contains pops of color and creative photos of healthy bites, Kali-O’s has generated over 10.6k followers.  This massive following is not just from their eye-catching pictures, but also from a worthwhile social strategy.  Kerry and Alli would find accounts that may have followers interested in their fresh foods.  For example, Kali-O’s followed yoga studios in their area, exercise gyms, and more.  The follower base from these accounts would most likely also be interested in Kali-O’s.  A portion of their success also stems from the fact that pretty health foods are currently trending; put simply, they’re picture-worthy.  

The Health Conscious Consumer

Kali-O’s sees people of all ages walk through the doors of their stores.  From high school and college students to health conscious moms, it seems that the current shift from junk food to health food is working in their favor.  Jersey Shore visitors will often come in and explain their need to back away from the typical “vacation food” and move toward something that will make them feel good and get pumped for the day ahead.  Even young moms with toddlers pop into the store and use Kali-O’s tasty snacks as a way to feed their children fruits and veggies, while masking its original appearance.  

Let’s Be Different

As a juice box shop offering the ultimate freshness paired with unprecedented nutritional benefits, Kerry and Alli want to stick with what they know.  Although fruit bowls, smoothies, and juices may be a current trend, Kali-O’s will not change its mission to fit what is popular.  Kali-O’s takes great pride in providing consumers with the best ingredients to fuel their bodies.  The shop does not supply any additives or added sugars or preservatives in their foods, and they also make the granola themselves as well as their own nutella without the oils or dairy that is usually in the product.  In addition, unique to Kali-O’s is the use of unsweetened acai.  

There may be small shops around selling different types of fruit and veggie options, but the difference with Kali-O’s is that they want to educate the community on the fact that they truly care about your health - they do not want to feed you toxins with negative repercussions.  

The Future of Kali-O’s

The future looks bright for the dynamic duo from Point Pleasant.  Kerry and Alli prove to be the perfect team - with Kerry’s creative, outgoing personality and Alli’s meticulous work ethic and attention to detail, the sisters have a great system for success.  The two would love to continue expanding their business up and down the New Jersey coast.  But it wasn’t just Kerry and Alli behind the growth of the brand.  The pair attributes their continued success to the hard working management staff, top quality ingredients, and their experience in the food industry from growing up around the bakery.  Both sisters want to grow their business at a pace that will not sacrifice their fresh, invigorating food.  

But for now, Kerry and Alli will continue serving up delicious fruit and veggie options that have proven to not only be tasty treats, but to be good for you too.  From a small idea to an eye opening reality, the O’Neill sisters are well on their way to educating the community on the positive effects of healthy eating.   

 
About the Author: Christina Diecidue

Christina Diecidue is the Marketing Project Coordinator at SEMGeeks.  She holds a B.S. in Business Administration, with concentrations in marketing, advertising, and web design from Rider University.  Known to be a meticulous worker, Christina values each client's individual goals and works to meet their digital strategy needs accordingly.  With valuable knowledge in higher education, alumni engagement, and leadership, she provides an array of skills to the SEMGeeks team.  In her free time, Christina can be found binge watching repeats of Friends and spending time with her family.

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