Tucked away in Louisville’s up-and-coming NuLu district, visitors looking for fresh juice will look to NuLu Market and find this hidden gem waiting to be discovered — Cherry Pickin’ Juicery & Good. “You’re not going to stumble upon us really,” co-owner Sydney Smith says. “Just the fact that we’re consistently busy during the day has been literally nothing short of a blessing.”
Immediately, visitors are surrounded by pink decor and a lightness that pairs well with the bright flavors on the menu. The shop’s concept and design were conceived by a friend of co-founder Lavell Well, designer Jocelyn Williams, blending sports and fitness together. On the wall to the right is the cherry red logo created by local Louisville muralist KeVon Dunbar.
While making the juice is for health benefits, the daily cleanup process can be a hassle, Smith says. She explains Cherry Pickin wants to provide a convenient option for people on the go to get their daily dose of nutrients.
To the left hangs three basketball hoops, an homage to the sport, which is part of Smith’s family legacy. The co-owner grew up in Maryland but comes from a basketball family with roots in Louisville.
A Family Legacy of Basketball
Smith’s parents, Monica and Derek Smith, met in college at the University of Louisville. Her father was drafted in the NBA at the beginning of his basketball career with the Golden State Warriors. He played throughout the league until 1994 when he began coaching the Washington Bullets (ne Wizards). Derek died of a heart attack in 1996.
Smith’s younger brother is former NBA player Nolan Smith, who played for the Portland Trail Blazers, Boston Celtics (their father’s former team) and international basketball teams. In April 2022, Nolan took a position as an assistant coach at the University of Louisville. Smith herself is no stranger to the sport and was also a former college athlete. After college, she went into marketing and was her brother’s social media manager when he was drafted into the NBA.
The name comes from the phrase “cherry picking,” which means sifting through to pick the best options and opportunities. “For us, it [cherry picking] was a basketball term, basically setting yourself up to get the best shot,” Smith says. “You pick the best opportunity; you pick the best people.”
Cherry Pickin’ Juice Connoisseurs
In the case of the juice bar, Smith’s winning team for Cherry Pickin’ includes Tamron Keith Jr, co-manager and director of community engagement at Cherry Pickin’ Goods and Wells, a film producer for documentaries “Fyre Fraud and Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story.”
“We wanted something that beginners could come in and enjoy as well as the advanced juicers,” Wells says. Hailing from New York, he continues to travel and work in the film industry but has plans to return to Louisville to support the team in between shoots.
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The three often travel for work and consider themselves “juice connoisseurs.” As an athlete, Smith found that frequent travel throws off the digestive system. Moving to Louisville meant looking for something to support their health-conscious lifestyle. When they couldn’t find it, they decided to create it.
“We didn’t want to do the typical clean look of a smoothie or juice bar,” Wells says. ”We wanted it to have some type of pop to it—the nostalgic feeling.”
For the Cherry Pickin founders, receiving training and consulting from the curators of juicing, Good Nature Juicer, helps ensure they are creating the finest quality and most approachable product. Good Nature is one of the leading suppliers of commercial cold press juicers. “We knew we were working with the best consultants in the juice game, so we knew our product was going to be good,” Wells says.
“Our recipes were really important because we wanted to infuse flavors that we personally loved,” adds Smith. The shop is vegetarian friendly but teetering on the brink of vegan with options like “vanilla milk,” a cashew milk, filtered water, vanilla powder and dates, making sure no products contain dairy.
The menu has a wide selection of wellness shots, acai bowls and juices, each named with play-on sports phrases. Buzzer Beeter is a blend of red beet, cherries, fuji apple, pineapple, and rose water. Blue Chip is a blended juice of pineapple, pear, fennel, lemon, ginger and blue spirtuhua. “Getting the flavors right was something that was very important to us,” Smith says.
A personal favorite of Smith’s is to blend fresh basil into juices. “When we throw it in the juicer, you can literally smell it all throughout the whole shop,” Smith says.
Creating Community and Balance
In the short time since its opening last month, Cherry Pickin’ has become a big hit as a community gathering space. In honor of its opening, the juicery received a proclamation from Louisville mayor Craig Greenberg declaring September 23 Cherry Pickin’ Day.
They have co-hosted poetry events with local creative groups. Local politician Chartrael Hall brought his Black youth nonprofit organization Get Better Every Day (GBED) for a community meeting and enjoyed a tasting of wellness shots.
“In the times that we live in, it’s hard enough to wake up every day,” Smith says. “We wanted to create a community where we respected the need for balance and everybody’s lives.”
Cherry Pickin’ Juicery & Goods is located at NuLu Marketplace, 828 E. Main St. Follow Cherry Pickin’ Juicery & Goods on Instagram for information and updates.