July 13, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
On the same day that the Labor Department announced that inflation had surged to a record 40-year high, the owners of a popular juice shop in Sunnyside announced that they will soon close due to rising business costs.
Cooldown Juice, located at 48-19 Skillman Ave., will shutter for good on July 31 after more than seven years in operation. The company is known for its juices, smoothies and cleanses– as well as its healthy snacks and desserts.
Eric Barthels, the co-owner and a Sunnyside resident, made the announcement via the company’s Facebook page Wednesday. Barthels owns the business with his wife Sylwia.
“It is with a heavy heart that we are announcing that Cooldown Juice’s last day open will be Sunday, July 31st,” the post reads.
“While we have had an amazing experience serving the wonderful people of Sunnyside and Woodside over the past 7+ years, due to rising costs, unfortunately, we must move on.”
Cooldown Juice was first established as a juice delivery service at 39-11 47th Ave. in August 2015. The Barthels then converted their 47th Avenue space a few months later into a small café to offer in-store options as well as delivery.
In 2017 they moved their entire operation to the Skillman Avenue location.
Barthels told the Queens Post that the rising cost of food is the main reason for their impending closure. He said that the cost of their main ingredients—fruit and vegetables—have skyrocketed in recent months.
Barthels said they considered raising their prices to offset the higher costs, but it was impracticable.
“Even a modest price increase would cause a decrease in customers with people having tighter pockets,” Barthels said, noting the company has seen a slight drop in demand over the last few months.
He said the rising costs have eaten into their bottom line, and the business is no longer economically viable.
Barthels said it was a tough decision to close, given the business had weathered the economic storm of the pandemic.
He said their largest customer before the pandemic was the New York Mets. When restrictions began lifting, new management at the franchise decided not to renew their contract with Cooldown Juice, he said.
Barthels said that when the store closes, he will focus on his day job of teaching students with disabilities. He said his wife will explore new employment opportunities once they close.
“It’s obviously sad, but we’re going to move on to better things so hopefully it’s a blessing in disguise.”