Introducing CHAIRS™ first tenant: Ben Lenart of Almighty Organic Juice
WRITTEN BY Coffee Supreme
03 April 2019

Almighty Organic Juice has been with us at CHAIRS™ since day one - even pre-CHAIRS™ when people mistook the space for a pimped out rumpus room.

We sat down with Ben Lenart, founder of Almighty, to talk about Almighty - their delicious juices, the good stuff they do for the community and why they’ve decided to keep growing their awesome company within the walls of our shared office space CHAIRS™

I’ve just landed on the planet, what is Almighty Organic Juice?
We’re into providing top quality bevvies that don’t trash the environment and that contribute positively to our community. Almighty is an organic drinks company - we make certified organic juices that taste bloody delicious.

What lead you to set up your own company instead of working for ‘the man’ - whoever the man is - himself?
I worked for other people for a while but was lucky/foolish enough to start my own thing pretty early on. Someone once said to me ‘everyone has a boss’.

You’ve got a hospitality background, how important has that been in understanding a hospitality supply business?
Connecting with people and providing a good time goes a pretty long way in most organisations and cultures I think. Our team pretty much all have a hospitality background and it has been super helpful for Almighty. Operating a hospitality business is farken hard work, we know it firsthand, so it is super helpful for us as a supply business to understand some of the things that really matter to people in this business.

What was the inspiration for your business name?
We want to promote organic fruits, vegetables and superfoods as an alternative to some of the less nutritious foods that are common in many diets these days. We wanted to sum up how mighty these things can be in a name. ‘Mighty’ was quite good but we liked Almighty better.

What’s the biggest challenge of selling bottled organic juices?
We are one of many organisations working towards a positive change in eating habits that may take a generation to be fully realised. There is no instant gratification and there are limited tangible quick results with what we are doing. Encouraging habits to shift towards re-connecting with real food takes time and it is challenging to build a slow movement. I suppose the other thing is taking on some very large multi-national, aggressive, established beverage companies - that is pretty bloody challenging.

Almighty supports ‘edible education’. Tell us a little bit more about that.
Every bottle of juice we sell contributes to food education in NZ and Australia. This means teaching kids to grow veggies and to cook with fresh food to make delicious meals they actually want to eat. We also get in the garden or kitchen every week and get our hands dirty. It is amazing how quick kids are to get on board with broccoli or green beans when they have planted, picked and prepared it themselves. It is super rewarding to see kids getting excited about being in the garden and kitchen - hopefully, lots more schools get into it over time.

How were you introduced to Coffee Supreme?
When I was 15 the lovely John, Penny and Dinah were kind enough to give me my first cafe job at Chocolate Fish in Wellington. They served Coffee Supreme then and I am pretty sure they still do now.

What is it about CHAIRS™ that sets it apart from other shared space offices? (Beyond the sharing of infrastructure and cost).
I think there is an underlying care for people that is present - the team at Coffee Supreme are fantastic hosts and super accommodating. I like their open-minded and supportive approach as well as their care for the little details.

What are the benefits of the shared space model?
We are a small team so it is nice to be around other like-minded people doing similar sorts of things. There is obviously a reasonable amount of efficiency with shared resources but the sharing of ideas and knowledge is probably where some of the greatest benefits lie.

What are the most important features of a successful shared space for you?
Nice people, well thought out spaces and access to good coffee and of course bloody good cold drinks...

How persuasive was the promise of unlimited Coffee Supreme coffee to the CHAIRS™ offer? Quite persuasive initially but you have 11 cups of coffee in one day and you learn that lesson pretty quick.

What’s your morning routine; what’s your favourite toast topping? Do you eat straight from the breadboard standing in your undies, or sit down with a plate? Light or dark roast? Filter or espresso?
The first thing I do every morning is make a black coffee. I am no good before then. If I am organised I will run or exercise in the morning then eat brekkie with my much better half, sitting down at a table. Otherwise, it is definitely eating straight from the breadboard. Fix and Fogg crunchy with lots of butter and some banana is a go-to for me.

Smooth or crunchy?
Crunchy mate.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Coffee.

#1 Auckland snack/meal under $10?
The veggie (and the bacon and egg) sandwiches at Baby are a really really good time. The crumpets with honey at Orphans Kitchen are also a bloody good shout too.

You can find Almighty’s website here and their Instagram here.

CHAIRS™ is a shared workspace at 376 Great North Rd, offering 32 permanent desks to a bunch of like-minded people - small business owners, freelancers and the like. Need a new workspace? Book your chair over at [email protected] or www.chairsforthat.com.

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