Throughout the years, the Community Fund of North Miami Dade (CFNMD) has helped many small businesses owned by women and minorities grow their businesses and achieve higher levels of success.
Today, we’re sharing the story of one of our recent clients, The JuiceDefined.
Fathiyyah “Tia” Doster is the owner of The JuiceDefined LLC, Opa-locka’s only raw juice bar. The JuiceDefined has been operating as a full-service juice bar in downtown Opa-locka since September 2021, but the storefront is just the latest iteration of the business.
Tia got the idea to start the business after juicing helped her recover from preeclampsia when she was pregnant with her daughter. After experiencing powerful health results for herself, she decided to share the power of “fresh, raw, and cold-pressed” juices with her community.
Tia started with a mobile business, making juices in her home in Miami Gardens and delivering to customers throughout the local area. When she felt ready to expand to a brick-and-mortar shop, she looked for a place close to home to fill a need in the area.
She ended up finding an affordable place with lots of visibility in downtown Opa-locka.
Opening Up Shop
From the permitting process to accessing other resources for her business, Tia said that the Opa-locka community received her with open arms. Even now, staff from the nearby City Hall and OLCDC office are some of her most loyal customers, buying from her every day.
But things haven’t always been easy.
She worked hard to secure a lease on the right location and pulled together her own team of contractors to help renovate the space to create the storefront of her dreams.
Then in October 2020, while in the middle of completing the buildout of her Opa-locka storefront, Tia had a kidney transplant. As a result, she put her business and the buildout on hold for three months while she recovered. During that time, she used up most of her cash reserves to pay rent at the unfinished shop.
She was back up and running by January 2021, but she realized that she’d need an injection of capital to complete construction. That’s when she decided to apply for a loan with the Community Fund of North Miami Dade (CFNMD).
Tia first heard about the loan opportunity in an email from the Opa-locka Community Development Corporation, the CFNMD’s parent company. Although she was skeptical that she’d be eligible for funding as a home-based business, she decided to inquire.
It was one of the best things she could have done for her business. By April 2021, she closed on a business loan that allowed her to finish her storefront buildout.
Now, customers can enjoy ten flavors of cold-pressed juices made fresh at the store, along with pre-bottled juices, raw juice shots, and detox packages that are kept in stock. A few healthy food items have also been added to the shop’s menu since opening, including salads and parfaits.
Growing Through the Process
In the beginning, Tia thought that applying for a business loan would be similar to the process she went through when she purchased her home. But it ended up being much different and more complicated.
She had to make lots of changes in her business to become loan-ready, including getting
her business finances more organized.
Tia admits that there were many things that could have made things easier for her if she’d known them sooner. But ultimately, working with the CFNMD staff while going through the loan application process made her a better entrepreneur and better prepared for business success.
But Tia says the CFNMD has provided her with much more than financial opportunity.
“My favorite part [of working with the CFNMD] has been after the loan–the resources, the connections, friendliness, and assistance offered by the team,” she said. “They didn’t just give me money and cut me loose. We’re family now, at this point.”
When it comes to working through the challenges that come with owning and running a small business, Tia believes that every entrepreneur should do their due diligence, hone their skills, and “definitely ask for help.”
Looking Forward to More Success
Currently, Tia is still in the process of smoothing out daily operations at The JuiceDefined shop, working closely with several family members. Soon, she will introduce a new service-based side of the business.
A therapist by profession, Tia has always envisioned using The JuiceDefined to merge juicing and therapy. While juicing can help people lead healthier lives, they often need support for the mental and emotional components of making that kind of change.
JuiceDefined will soon offer educational courses and masterclasses for people looking to make larger lifestyle changes. In fact, Tia says she has about five programs ready to launch.
“We don’t just sell you juice. We want you to walk away with another life,” Tia said. “We’re not just another restaurant. We’re promoting wellness, positivity and good vibes.”
About the CFNMD
Established in January 2002, The Community Fund of North Miami (CFNMD) is a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), providing small businesses and entrepreneurs in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties within South Florida, with the support and resources they need through technical assistance, one on one counseling, and small business loans. As a subsidiary of the Opa-locka Community Development Corporation, the CFNMD’s mission is to utilize resources derived from the public and private sectors to assist the poor, distressed and underprivileged through a program of lending and investing in housing, real estate development projects, small/micro businesses and other commercial enterprises.
Address: 854 Ali Baba Avenue, Opa Locka, FL 33054