ITHACA, N.Y. – A sprained arm might force some professional fruit and vegetable juicers to stop making sweet juice goodness.
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But when Bimini Brown, 23, sprained her right arm in mid-April and was stuck in a sling, she and her business partner Biz Kornblum, 24, kept juicing.
They said that weekend at the Ithaca Farmers Market was one of the most financially successful Biz and Benny’s Juice Co. has ever had.
The two have been best friends since they were 11-years-old and have been squeezing juice together at their business for about seven years.
“I would go and harass Biz and it just evolved into me working with her,” Brown said.
Kornblum has been in the juicing business longer — her brother Ben Kornblum, 30, roped her in to working with him when she was 12-years-old.
“It took a little bit of arm twisting,” Ben Kornblum said.
He said he started the company to save money for college when he was about 17. He convinced his sister to juice with him because he thought people would be more inclined to buy from his cute kid sister than himself.
Biz Kornblum said their mother, Jan Rhodes Norman, helped them apply to own the business, making the siblings the youngest business owners in Tompkins County in 2003. Norman has served as a mentor for the business throughout the years.
Ben Kornblum eventually left New York to move to California and the juice stand was left primarily in his sister’s care.
Biz Kornblum and Brown said they have cultivated their own way of running the business since they’ve taken about complete control of the company over the past four years or so.
For instance, they sell popsicles from about mid-June to July and began selling heartier or warmer juices during the winter.
When the best friends are not at the booth, they work other jobs. Kornblum works at GreenStar Natural Foods Market and Brown works at Ithacamade.
But when Friday night rolls around they begin juicing root vegetables — beets, carrots and ginger. They also begin juicing citrus fruit, which they continue doing throughout their shift at the market.
They said it helps their business for customers to see them as best friends.
“We’ve had a lot of people tell us that we’re like a show,” Brown said, adding that the two chat and make jokes with each other and the customers.
Brown and Kornblum said they’re planning big things in the future, such as a more unified look for the business and possible merchandise.
Ben Kornblum said he used to have dreams of bottling the juice and selling it locally, but got scared about the kind of time and commitment it would take.
Biz Kornblum and Brown said they have a few large projects in mind but declined to talk about the details while they’re still in the planning stages.
“I think that we have what it takes to make it happen,” Brown said.