Brad Charles and Sue Ann Yyska, owners of Central Market Juice Company, truly are two of the most kind-hearted humans in Lancaster – maybe even the world. “That’s why we’re here, we love people,” Brad joyfully shared, with Sue Ann continuing, “We really love the people here.”
Their journey as owners of a juice, smoothie, and savory baked goods stand at Market began three years ago. The journey of the stand itself, however, began almost three decades ago, in 1991, as only a juice stand. Through the years, items were added – bagels and then breads and then smoothies – and locations were swapped, until what was once Lancaster Citrus Company became Central Market Juice Company as we know and love it today.
Sue Ann began working at the stand part-time in 2003, helping her dear friend and teaching colleague, Debbie Gainer, who owned the stand with her husband, Rod Gainer. Brad then began working at the stand a number of years later in 2012, of which he said, “I’ve always loved to cook, so this was kind of a natural thing for me to fall into.” The rest is a partnership made in juice heaven.
“They created a very viable business. We’re very fortunate that we could create the new business without having to tweak too much of the old one,” Sue Ann said of purchasing the business from Debbie and Rod upon their retirement from Market.
While having a stand at Market is not something either of them ever had on their professional radars, their love for this historic building, affinity for friendliness, and knack for creating the perfect smoothie all came together to create a partnership and thriving juice family that sounds like it could rule the world.
And really, it all starts, and has always started, with the juice.
Brad put it simply, “It’s just juice. We do nothing. We add nothing.”
Fresh grapefruits and oranges are delivered to their juicing suite in the lower level of the Hager Building just across Market Street two days each week, year-round.
“We juice every day before Market,” Sue Ann added.
Their process of turning fresh pieces of fruit into juice to be sold at Market sounds as though it’s the epitome of “teamwork makes the dream work.” Each task in the process is completed by an integral player in the Central Market Juice Company family, for all of whom Brad and Sue Ann are incredibly grateful.
It begins each day before Market with early-morning fruit cleaning, followed by afternoon blending and bottling. Each Market day then begins with early-morning transport from the juicing suite to the stand, followed by a day spent sharing their fresh juice, bagels, breads, and smoothies with the Market community they love.
It’s a community they love not only as Standholders, but also as shopping members of it themselves who’ve been frequenting Market for years.
“When I moved to the City in 1978, I started shopping at Market. I was a regular shopper for, you know, 30 years or so,” Brad said, with Sue Ann continuing, “And I grew up in the City, went to McCaskey. My mother shopped here regularly.”
It’s obvious that their appreciation for Market as decades-long regulars has helped shape how they run the stand, always working to ensure that each customer who visits is well cared for. Brad said, “I think for a lot of people who shop at Market, it’s a tradition and they’re dedicated. They’re interested in seeing this historic place thrive – to survive and even grow. It’s more than just going for groceries.”
Here’s to many more years of the generosity of Central Market Juice Company, and the Market experience, too.