Om Boys introduces good vibrations, and tasty smoothies, to Liverpool
Todd and Michelle Brundage have been married for 7-1/2 years. They’ve been doing yoga together for three years. And as of two months ago, they’re business partners. The Brundages, along with friend Dan Bebber, own Om Boys, a juice and smoothie bar that opened Oct. 16 in Liverpool. The juice bar caters to a healthy and natural lifestyle. They serve all-natural juices and smoothies loaded with nutrients as well as healthful soups and salads.
The Brundages are vegetarians and Bebber is a vegan. Additionally, they’re all yoga fanatics. Yoga, in fact, was the inspiration for the shop. “We start and end all yoga classes with the sound of ‘om,’” says Bebber. “It’s a sound of collective consciousness. It’s in everything. It’s just a good vibration.”
But the good vibes aren’t limited to yoga. Om Boys goes to extreme measures to ensure everything they do brings good karma, including composting waste, using all-natural ingredients and encouraging positivity at their shop.
“Green is an overplayed term,” says Todd Brundage. “We want to be conscious and aware of what we do to the planet. It’s everyone’s planet so we want to make it a great place.”
All fruits and vegetables come from local vendors, such as Grindstone Farms in Pulaski, with one exception. “You can’t find coconuts in New York. You can’t even find them in the United States,” notes Todd. “So they’re the only item we import.”
Local ingredients are just the beginning of Om Boys’ commitment. All ingredients are free of any animal products. They use no enzymes, soy or gluten in food or drink preparation, and nothing gets cooked, with the exception of simmered soups. They make their own aloe and mint extract. And, most important, they make sure no bad vibes go into food preparation.
“You have to leave any stress at the door, because stress translates into whatever you make,” says Bebber. “Everything we serve is prepared with positive energy.”
Nearly a year ago, the trio attended a yoga conference in California. Following a workout they stopped at an all-natural juice bar, a common fixture on the West Coast. “Dan turned to me with his juice and suggested a juice bar in Syracuse,” says Todd. “We decided right there to give it a shot and we haven’t turned back since.”
The three returned to Syracuse shortly after and began making plans. They traveled to juice bars in nearby cities like Rochester, Buffalo, Toronto, Montreal and New York City, looking for inspiration. “There was nothing in Syracuse as far as a health and nutrition place, other than Strong Hearts Café,” says Bebber. “We figured a juice bar would be perfect.”
While they devoted themselves to a healthy lifestyle, neither Bebber nor the Brundages had any professional food industry experience. Michelle had been a financial analyst and Todd was in sales. “We’re just a couple of health nuts who have been doing it ourselves for a while,” admits Todd Brundage. “I’ve had experience for years working in my own kitchen making juices and smoothies that are healthy and delicious.”
After months of exploring similar operations and planning their own, the trio secured a building, ultimately setting up shop in the heart of Liverpool at 137 First St. While the sidewalk isn’t exactly bustling with vegans and hipsters, the shop is (not coincidentally) located down the street from CNY Yoga Center, coowned and operated by Bebber’s wife, Lorie Bebber.
“It’s perfect,” Dan Bebber says. “We do yoga down the street then spend all day working here. I really love it.”
Bebber and the Brundages spent months renovating the building, which formerly housed an art gallery. They did most of the work themselves, including reupholstering bar stools, refinishing an old maple table for the small dining area and painting the walls a soft lime green. The result is a shop that feels fresh and friendly.
Bebber greets customers with a warm hello and a genuine smile. He does so, he says, because he truly loves his job. “People are always smiling when they come in here. It’s such a fulfilling place to work.”
Many of the shop’s regulars are yoga students and health conscious like Bebber and the Brundages. But their clientele isn’t limited to vegetarians. Members of the Syracuse Crunch frequent the shop before practice or games to pound a few high-nutrient wheat grass shots. Students at the nearby LaVallee Karate Studio stop in before a workout as well.
“This place is for anyone who wants to live a healthy lifestyle,” says Todd Brundage.