By Jason Fontelieu

Tucked into the corner of central Mount Rainier is a quaint organic juice shop, The Waterhole.

Whether it’s the soft soul music played through the speakers or the personalized customer service at the counter, The Waterhole has been an established hub within the small town since its opening three years ago and continues to be as it plans to expand in the future.

“People walk everywhere they go,” said manager Cathi Harris, 62, of Mount Rainier.  “So when we have things here late at night, we have people from the neighborhood.”

The Waterhole, owned by Harris’ daughter Lisa Harris, originated after the death of Lisa Harris’ father.

“He hadn’t taken very good care of his health,” Cathi Harris said. “This opened [Lisa Harris’] eyes to: If his health had been better, if he had been eating better, he would’ve lived a longer life.”

After the two experienced his death and watched the documentary, “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead,” which chronicles the journey of an obese man bettering his health by drinking strictly fruit and vegetable juices, the inspiration for The Waterhole was born.

The array of fresh juices and other healthy products like coconut water and on-tap kombucha highlights the store’s commitment to their customers’ health.

“[Lisa Harris] wanted to make sure that people learned about health, about how you change your health through your diet,” Cathi Harris said.

The low prices are also a draw to passerby looking for a quick snack or beverage.

Many people come in for coconut water with chia seeds after working out, Cathi Harris said. The kombucha, also served by glass jug or “growler,” is popular as well.

“In the bottle [the kombucha is] one way, but on tap it’s really good,” Cathi Harris said. “I drink it on tap all the time.”

The store’s “juicemaster,” Stephanie, is a personal friend of Cathi Harris’ and comes up with all of the “concoctions” the store sells.

“[Stephanie and I] thought this would be a nice way to be together, so we work weekends together,” Cathi Harris said.

One such concoction is the “weekend shot,” a sharp, yet sweet blend of ginger, tumeric and whatever hand-picked fruit is the freshest.

The “weekend shot” is especially popular during the store’s busiest hours, Saturday mornings after several local dance classes adjourn. The shot costs $3 for two ounces.

The store also serves coffee and a fresh vegan lemon spirulina cake baked by the local bakery, Dodah’s Kitchen.

But, Cathi Harris said, the people are what makes working at the juice shop so enjoyable.

“It’s an area where you feel safe, and you’ll see a mixture of people,” Cathi Harris said. “That’s why I like it.”

For the future, Lisa Harris plans to expand to the space next door, according to Cathi Harris, where there’d be a vegan restaurant, attached to the Waterhole, that would feature live music.

Featured Photo Credit: Courtesy of Jason Fontelieu/Bloc Reporter.

Jason Fontelieu is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at jcf037@comcast.net.

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