This week, we sat down with Becky Simon, owner of Bex Café & Juice Bar on Main Street in downtown Greenville.
Bex serves up a variety of fresh baked goods, smoothies, and juices, many of which use organic and/or gluten free ingredients. You will also find an impressive selection of coffee, espresso, lattes and teas.
When Becky is not at her café, she tries to relieve stress by exercising “when I have the energy and motivation to!” (don’t we all have those days?) and she also works on other ways to stay healthy. Her time outside of Bex is limited right now so she also makes sure to hang out with friends and be with her family.
Becky has created a warm, inviting atmosphere at Bex and it’s sure to offer something for everyone.
What gets you up in the morning?
The thought of another day at the café! My alarm goes off and I lay in bed for a second to go through the list of objectives I have for the day. This list usually consists of running “errands,” grocery shopping, running to vendors to pick up inventory items, banking, and working at the cafe. I aim to incorporate the freshest of produce and ingredients in my juices/smoothies, food items, and coffee.
What keeps you up at night?
My mind never stops running! I constantly have thoughts running through my head of what I can do to improve BEX Café. With spring approaching, I am planning to make changes to the menu and extend business hours. I love being able to play around with the menu and the décor in the shop. I am planning on giving BEX Café a spring look and reorganizing the seating and table top space. I hope the outdoor seating will become a welcome spot as the weather warms up.
What made you want to start a coffee and juice bar?
My dad had a running joke of opening up an art shop for my sister and I; he enjoys art shops and thought it would be a good backup plan if either of us decided to go a different direction than what we were studying in school. When my family and I went to the Cayman Islands for vacation a few summers ago, we went into this juice bar, and I was in awe. I loved the concept and the casual style of the little shop that served all fresh juice, all natural smoothies, and healthy eats. This running joke of an art shop then turned into a juice bar. However, living in South Carolina, the climate does not always cater to juices and smoothies year round, this is where coffee came in. I tacked coffee on to the idea, because who doesn’t love coffee, but also, to cater to the colder months. The idea kept building in my head and my dad kept bringing it up. We just couldn’t let go of the idea, so we decided to make it happen!
When asked if she had any advice for other young business owners, Becky had this to say:
It definitely does help to have connections or people to support you. I have my family’s support and also, my manager’s family has been in the food industry and they had a coffee shop a few years back. We brought her on as startup help and now she’s my manager. So, definitely having that support, stay confident and stick with your gut!
How important do you think it is for local businesses to be active in their community?
Right away, moving into the Greenville downtown neighborhood, BEX received a warm welcome from other surrounding businesses. I felt that automatic connection to the community. Many local businesses aimed to help get my name out and spread the word that there was a new café in town. This generosity of businesses helping each other to be successful is what makes Greenville such a great place to live, and location to start a small business. By working together and aiding in others’ success’ we will only help Greenville flourish and continue to make it a great place to live and work!
Where do you see BEX in five years?
With the West end of Greenville really expanding, in five years, I see Bex being central to the West End. Right now, besides the Ball Park and a few restaurants and shops, this end of Main St is less of a walking path for those exploring downtown Greenville. Many people stop around Falls Park and don’t go much further. In five years I see this side of town completely transforming into a “starting” point for those heading into town. With plans of hotels, condos, and apartments going up around BEX hopefully there will be more walking traffic coming from this end of town heading towards falls park. I see BEX as more of a destination for people to stop and enjoy a coffee, juice, smoothie, or bite to eat. I don’t think there will be any other locations although I do wish we had more space to do what I really would want in the kitchen, as far as food. I realize now we are limited on space back there so it limits us on what food we can serve. I just feel like I’ve had so many ideas in my head about what kind of food I would really, really love to serve. I could see myself opening up a new one just to expand what we could do in the kitchen. But for now, I am happy to stay focused on our current location.