By Scott Elpers - Photography by Madison Ham
Even on a cold day, Songbird Juice Co. has the vibrant feel of a fresh, spring morning.
That’s exactly the mark Marty Spence was striving for when she opened Wichita’s original cold press juice bar more than two years ago. Even the name, Songbird, is a nod to her grandmother and Spence’s rural upbringing just outside of Wichita.
“I love when things remind me of home,” Spence said. “This place definitely reminds me of home.”
It was also Spence’s family who inspired her to bring healthy eating options uncommon in The Midwest. After her mother suffered a series of medical setbacks, Spence, an only child, took over the role as primary caregiver.
“She wasn’t able to enjoy food. It made me realize immediately that I needed to get smart about nutrition for her,” Spence said. “I had this longing for easy, open access to nutrition here in Wichita. We just didn’t have that.”
Spence extensively studied nutrition. After nine years of caring for her mother, Spence had used nutritious food to eliminate 10 of her mother’s 16 daily medications.
“When you pick up an apple, at the end of the day, you should know it’s an apple,” she said. “Songbird Juice Co. began with that concept.”
Wanting to bring healthy living to Wichita, she moved quickly, opening Songbird in just six months in 2015.
“I’m a woman of action. I moved very fast,” said Spence, who has a business degree from Wichita State University and had previously worked as a volunteer coordinator at Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center.
Songbird Juice Co. uses cold press technology, allowing juice to preserve nutrients for a healthier, longer shelf life. The raw, non-pasteurized juice is pressed every day in-house at Songbird’s flagship location in the heart of Riverside at 1142 N. Bitting.
The flavors (and bright colors) vary, but juices and smoothies at Songbird are always an eclectic combination of fresh, natural ingredients. Songbird also has a food truck, making the rounds at local farmers’ markets offering products and juicing demonstrations.
“My juices are built for need and taste. There is nothing on the shelf that doesn’t taste good,” Spence said. “Some people might label me a hippie at heart. I just try to be as natural as I can.”