Fresh Cafe & Market
West Des Moines, Iowa
Local, seasonal, raw, and vegan foods, juices, and wheatgrass
Black bean brownies, frozen wheatgrass shots, raw tacos
Favorite Change Feature:
When Nicole Wilke started at Fresh Cafe & Market three years ago, she barely cooked. Now, whole foods are a daily passion.
"I think there is a misconception. People see good food and healthy food as two different categories. And I hope that when people come here, it changes their mind. Our food is really good and it’s also good for you.
"Having that passion makes me want to work harder. It’s easier to come to work every day when I know that I'm not only doing something that I enjoy, but I'm doing something that has a good effect on other people’s lives, too."
Owner Kerri Rush, dubbed Des Moines' "Wheatgrass Girl," has seen a gradual shift in people's willingness to try foods they might have once considered strange.
"I used to be the girl at school with the weird lunch - with shredded carrots and raisins on a sandwich," says Rush.
"Then I became the one people gathered around because they wanted to know what I was eating. They'd say, 'Ooo - can I try that?' Before you knew it, I had no lunch left. Now everyone wants to eat what we’re eating because they’re interested."
Learning and teaching are Rush's key outlets for improving her craft and running Fresh.
"I’m a research person. When I get new information, I try to hold a class, post to Facebook, write newsletters and have this (cafe) be an outlet for people."
Between growing Fresh, facilitating juice cleanses, competing in Morsel Combat, and teaching people about wheatgrass, Rush admits, “I get pulled in a lot of different directions.”
Rush started using Change in August 2012. Before that, they struggled with charging different prices, getting orders wrong, or not knowing what they had and or served. However, Change helped organize their workflows.
"Change has made the way we work much more logical and convenient," says Wilke. "Before, we had a register, which was basically a glorified calculator, and little pieces of paper with prices on them. Now, being more organized has made it easier for us to grow and be a better business.
"Now we know that our black bean brownies and our frozen wheatgrass shots are our most popular things and we always need to have them in stock."
Rush agrees: "Before, we were just trying to keep our head above water. It makes me so excited to see how far we’ve come from where we were. Now we can actually focus on creating the food we love."