Fresh Café's Derek Johnson is a 'smoothie operator'

Derek Johnson

324 Victoria St



Fresh Café

Fresh food aficionados are quickly finding their way to a new restaurant on Victoria Street. Fresh Café's menu philosophy, as owner Derek Johnson describes it, is very down to earth.

"All our produce is high end. The wraps, the paninis, the smoothies, are all made right in front of you," says Johnson. "Everything we use is fresh or flash frozen and we serve only organic coffee.

"The response to what we are doing is way beyond our expectations," says Johnson. "Our customers tell us every day these are the best smoothies they have ever had and I know it is because of the fresh ingredients."

Fresh Café is the only place in Kamloops offering two kinds of "wheat grass smoothies," Johnson says with pride. "Wheat grass is packed with antioxidants," he says, "and one ounce of wheat grass is the equivalent of two and a half pounds of leafy vegetables."

"Wheat grass looks like something you get when you mow your lawn," Johnson jokes. "But the smoothie tastes are amazing. "

Many people will remember longtime chamber of commerce member Derek Johnson as the former owner of two well-known Kamloops car dealerships. However, retirement didn't seem to suit Johnson, so last fall he began thinking about some new possibilities.

Fresh Cafe is an American franchise with a lot of local flexibility built into the concept. Johnson thought Kamloops would be the perfect spot for the chain's first Canadian location.

"I loved dealing with the public, and loved working with staff. It was something I really missed and being able to get back into that is something that really feels great."

In the mornings, you'll find him bussing tables, washing dishes in the kitchen or waiting on customers. Later he'll spend a few hours in his office doing some of the administration work, then its back on his feet and out front in the restaurant again.

It's a long way from running car dealerships, but "I just love it."

A strong believer in the advantages of chamber membership, he says, "I won't even try to run a business in Kamloops without belonging the chamber of commerce. The chamber gives you access to databases and information to help market your business the cost of membership is returned to you many times over."

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