RED BANK – Anita and Melvin Pierce, owners of Good Life Organic Kitchen in Red Bank, are a powerhouse team when it comes to cooking and serving their “superfood” products to their customers.
“Once our customers get a taste of our superfoods, they are instantly hooked,” Anita said. “We always get great reviews from our customers and they love everything we serve. This business is our pride and joy and we just want to keep it going.”
Neither Antia nor Melvin ever really had dreams of being an entrepreneur until they became health conscious and wanted to sustain that by eating well and maintaining a strict diet.
“Throughout my early years as a young person, I didn’t eat the healthiest foods and I got to a point that I wanted to change that part of my life, and not just for my sake, but for the sake of my family, ” said Anita.
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The couple met as sophomores at Red Bank Regional High School and dated all the way through their high school graduation.
“We were both young,” Anita said. “Our perspective on a healthy relationship didn’t click right away, but we had chemistry and made it work. We worked together at a local Pizza Hut and we enjoyed each other’s company. There was definitely a spark and we tried to develop that into something special even though we were very young and inexperienced.”
After high school, the couple broke up and went on to lead separate lives.
“I went to Brookdale (Community College) for a little while,” Anita said. “I majored in psychology for a year, but my heart was not in it, and so I left before after a short time. I worked some retail jobs just to make ends meat and support my family. I made enough money to buy and live at a small condo in Shrewsbury. For a while, it was just me and my son.”
Melvin got a job as a dishwasher at a nursing home and worked his way up the ladder to become a cook.
“He was there for 10 years and his boss was really impressed with his job performance,” Anita said. “He practiced and practiced and really got the hang of cooking up different meals for the people that lived there. He took advantage of all the opportunities that they offered to him. It got to the point where it became second nature to him to cook all of these delicious entrees and people really enjoyed them.
“This was a big deal because all of the different types of food that he made really carried over to our business,” she said. “Melvin is the brains behind the menu here and he does an excellent job. He really brings a lot to the table when it comes to knowing what people will like.”
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How the restaurant was born
Melvin and Anita reunited after 10 years and started dating again in 2015. They ultimately decided to get married and expand their family.
“A close relative of ours was nice enough to give us some money as a gift,” Anita said. “We could have spent it on our wedding, but we decided to save it instead and, a couple of years later we would put it to a much more sustainable use, the business we own now. In the end, we made the right decision to have a low-key wedding and that was beneficial to us in the long run.”
Around that time Melvin and Anita started to get more serious about their health.
“At that time that we were growing our family, we decided that we wanted to do something big with our lives,” Anita said. “We started watching YouTube videos and reading up about eating better foods and figuring out which foods were a great fit for our diet. It was all about thinking smarter, not harder.”
Anita and Melvin decided that they wanted to open a restaurant that was all about healthy food, and found Good Life Organic Kitchen, a small health chain which today has five stores, and one coming soon.
“We signed the franchise agreement in November of 2019 and we were ready to open the following year,” Anita said. “At that time, COVID-19 hit and everything was put on hold. People were telling us that we should not go through with it because it just wasn’t the right time. Even so, we still pursued opening the business, but we just had to wait.”
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Starting during the pandemic
“After a while, everything started to get better, and once it did, we opened up in May of 2021, she said. “We definitely had to climb a lot of mountains and jump through hurdles to get where we are now. We put a lot of hard work into this business and we are proud of everything we have done so far. After opening, we have been very well-received by our customers and people that love our food. We can’t say how happy we are to have kept the business going despite some minor setbacks on the road to being successful with the business.”
Anita and Melvin both focus on offering their customers “superfoods.”
“Superfoods are foods that contain a highly dense concentration of vital nutrients,” Anita said. “There is nothing particularly new about them because they have been around for a while, but they are very good for you. We have smoothie bowls, soups, salads, quinoa power bowls, sandwiches, cold pressed juices. We also have superfood coffees and lattes. They’re a little different than traditional coffees because we use mushrooms as one of the main ingredients, although there is not a hint of mushrooms with the way it tastes.”
Anita and Melvin feel they have a bright future ahead of them after what they have achieved so far.
“We would like to expand the operation to more locations in the area,” Anita said. “We would also like to offer things like massage and wellness to our customers, as well as, a fitness center and possibly some yoga. Everything all blends together at this point.”
Good Life Organic Kitchen
Owners: Anita and Melvin Pierce
Location: 60 Broad St., Red Bank
Hours: 7 am to 5 pm Mondays through Saturdays