Moscow’s Main Street, a central hub for the Palouse community, houses a myriad of unique and interesting local businesses.
From One World Café to Bucer’s Coffeehouse Pub to the Corner Club, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd. Yet somehow, that is exactly what Palouse Juice has done.
Toni Salerno-Baird, founder of Moscow’s newest downtown addition, said the journey that led her to opening her own juice bar began 11 years ago when she constantly battled a variety of illnesses, including serious issues with her thyroid gland.
Countless trips to the hospital and dozens of prescriptions for antibiotics failed to have any effect on her health. Fed up, Salerno-Baird took matters into her own hands.
“I decided to just go completely organic. I got rid of anything in the house that wasn’t natural. I mean, we’re talking from toothpaste to things that were in my fridge,” Salerno-Baird said. “It was a huge overhaul, a mass exodus of toxins.”
After cutting out soda, pizza and other processed foods from of her diet, Salerno-Baird said she felt immensely better. Her thyroid problems went away and she no longer had to take antibiotics or rely on traditional medical practices.
Salerno-Baird, a Florida native, said her main inspiration behind Palouse Juice came from the growing need for healthy, organic centered restaurants combined with limited options of such places in the Palouse community. Following some extensive research and conversations with close friends back home, Salerno-Baird said she set her sights on opening her own shop, a place where only the highest quality organic foods would be served.
“My husband and I had been sitting on the idea for like four or five years, but it just seemed like it wasn’t going to happen,” she said. “Then, this past year, we just were fearless.”
In 2015, they began to look around Moscow for a location, talking to different realtors and community members. Salerno-Baird said that it was a challenging time with funds being so tight and the options downtown severely limited.
Salerno-Baird said she decided to take a step back and evaluate what she wanted her dream to become. She enrolled in the teachings of Dr. Linda Kingsbury, a local expert on organic diets and herbal healing. After graduating from Kingsbury’s school, Salerno-Baird said the tides of fortune began to change.
“Right about the time I graduated from her school, this place opened up,” she said. “It was Scott’s House of Flowers. It was the perfect location. By then, we had already gone to hell and back.”
Salerno-Baird and her husband Zack took on the roles of owners. Salerno-Baird focuses on handling day-to-day operations and managing the growing staff. Zach meanwhile, handles most of the supplies and produce. When not in the shop, he works at Grittman Medical Center as an evening coordinator. Zach said he is extremely grateful for the support his coworkers have given his family.
“We’re all a huge family working together for a common goal,” he said. “I hope to bring the same family atmosphere into Palouse Juice and all the local surrounding businesses.”
After a soft-opening in December, Palouse Juice celebrated its grand opening Jan. 18, ringing in the new year and new semester to lines out the door, according to Salerno-Baird, with students ordering the wide assortments of fruit and vegetable juices.
Some of Palouse Juice’s menu items offer unique names that Salerno-Baird said she takes pride in. She said she hopes when customers see drinks named “Hangover Helper” or “Wake Me Up before You Coco,” they’ll get a healthy dose of nature’s best medicine: laughter.
With less than a month of experience under her belt as an official owner, Salerno-Baird said sometimes she still can’t believe she is living her dream, and that she can’t wait to see what the future holds for her new business.
“We have a mission to empower people and feed them the highest quality nutritious foods and drinks and to really encourage them to take their health back. That’s the difference,” she said. “I’m concerned about every single one of my customers. My intention is that everybody that walks through those doors feels the benefits and feels better with every sip.”
Brandon Hill can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @brandonmtnhill