Professional soccer player Steve Spangler turned to cold-pressed fresh juices to relieve some of his health issues: acid reflux, chronic sinus infection, chronic fatigue syndrome, asthma and more.
“Once I started eating right, it was amazing how many of these health issues went away,” he said. “When I saw food as medicine, that’s where the real change came from.”
Spangler started Simple Science Juices in January to “share, educate and provide healthy, nutritional foods” for others. He said cold-press juicing is a two-step process — grind the produce into pulp so no nutrients are lost, then take the pulp and put it on a hydraulic press to slowly apply 1,800 pounds of pressure.
At first Spangler sold the juices out of a fitness club and later added a delivery service. Then he took on a partner, Ken Martin, and they opened their first retail location in July in Overland Park. Now they’re expanding again.
They plan a mid- to late-February opening on the first floor of the new 1914 Main Apartments building at 1914 Main St., next to The Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange in the Crossroads Arts District. 1914 Main Apartments is one of the first new apartment projects in the Crossroads and one of the first developments along the new streetcar line. It will have 44 apartments.
Another location is scheduled to open in March at 14300 Kenneth Road in Leawood.
The partners plan to have seven locations open by the end of 2016 and are looking at sites in Fairway, the Northland, south Overland Park and Lawrence.
Spangler was stationed at Sporting Kansas City during the 2012-2013 MLS season, and he later played soccer in Denmark and England.
While at home in Arizona for the offseason, his mother — who had long been on a gluten-free and dairy-free diet — once again tried to get him to change his diet. But he wasn’t convinced until he started researching diets and the science behind the choices. Then he became more passionate about nutrition than soccer.
Spangler took a minimum wage job in the cafe at an Overland Park fitness center to learn the restaurant industry — prepping produce, produce shelf life, food quality and handling. Within a couple of weeks, he was making cold-pressed juices for the club early in the morning, then working as its junior athletic director during the day.
At night, Spangler would work as a private soccer coach or shop for fresh produce for his next day’s juices. He said he used to be so tired he was sleeping more than 10 hours a day, but on his new “lifestyle” diet, he had enough energy to work several jobs, sometimes putting in 15- to 16-hour days.
He took on another job when a fitness club customer asked him to make juice deliveries to his office, and word spread. Spangler started a subscription service in January, delivering 60 to 75 bottles a week. Now he delivers more than 600 bottles a week.
In March, Spangler and Martin took over the former Villa Capri restaurant building at 8126 Floyd St. in Overland Park. After remodeling, they opened the first Simple Science Juices retail outlet in July. The store menu is constantly changing, but items can include spiced almond cereal, sweet chili Paleo hummus, Cajun almond trail mix, organic spring mix salad, wild-caught salmon salad, chocolate almond milk and about a dozen different juice blends.