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By Roz Rogoff

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About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

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More on Vitality

Uploaded: Oct 30, 2011
I was very impressed last week with the new Vitality Bowls restaurant and especially the energy and optimism of owner Tara Gilad. I'm always interested in new business ideas and encouraging startups in San Ramon.

In April 2005 I wrote a commentary on my old San Ramon Observer website entitled Unfit for San Ramon. According to that commentary, Vitality Bowls should be a big hit here.

Some of you might remember that I lost 50 lbs. last year on the Progresso Soup diet. I've gained back 20 lbs. of that. I'd like to get under 220. It's easier on my knees.

When I attended Richard III at the Curran Theater, my sister warned me there are no elevators and the seats are uncomfortable. I was able to walk up the three flights of stairs to the balcony and even the skinny steps to my seat in the second to last row of the rear balcony.

The seat was uncomfortable, but at least I fit into it although it also fit into me. Getting down from the back row was the hardest part. There isn't a railing for the last eight rows in the back. I slipped on the narrow steps and sat down.

I have no mobility problems climbing stairs or walking up hill, but I cannot get up off the floor. I'm like the lady in the commercial who's fallen and can't get up. The steps in the isle were too narrow (about 6" wide) for me to get a solid footing on. I had to squirm over to the side where there was at least 1.5' of floor space, and three people in front and behind me helped pull or push me up.

After watching Richard III kill all his friends and relatives, the audience was very helpful and did not adopt his anti-social attitudes. Still it is a lesson to me to take better care of myself, because there won't always be three people nearby to help me up. It's easier to eat Vitality Bowls than risk falling down again.

I'm excited about the creativity and energy behind Vitality Bowls, and contacted Mrs. Gilad for more information on her and her husband's plans for expansion. Here are her answers to my email.

Hi Roz,
Thanks for coming in!
We'd love to answer your questions and tell you more about us and Vitality Bowls. Please see my answers below.
Tara

1. Your website says the Acai berries are grown locally. Where do these grow? I know cranberries and blueberries require cold weather. What weather and soil conditions do these require? If you are planning so many more restaurants, how much Acai berries would you need for all these locations?

Our website actually doesn't say Acai berries are grown locally. We say we try to buy as many locally grown products that we can, but unfortunately Acai berries are not grown in the US. The ones we buy are grown in Brazil, organically, and we have them shipped to us. The Acai berry is the staple in our Bowls and Smoothies so we go through a lot!

2. You said you want to add another 8 locations in the Tri-Valley. Which cities are you considering and do you have venture capital for this? Would you consider franchising Vitality Bowls in the future?

We would love to add 8 or more stores and have many cities in mind. Right now we are focused on getting healthy affordable food in San Ramon, our home town. My husband and I haven't decided if we want to franchise Vitality Bowls yet.

3. Vitality Bowls reminds me of Jamba Juice. What similarities or differences do you see between Vitality Bowls and Jamba Juice or other restaurant chains or franchises?

Vitality bowls is completely different from Jamba Juice because we don't use any fillers - Ice or frozen yogurt. We use very expensive natural ingredients such as Acai, Goji Berries, Bee Pollen, etc....you can't find these at Jamba juice except maybe in the powder form. Jamba juice only does smoothies. We do Smoothies, Acai Bowls, Paninis and hope to add winter bowls like soups and oatmeal. Jamba Juice is a huge corporate chain of restaurants and we are a small locally owned business with one store. We can make positive changes and add menu items without having to run things through any corporate office.

4. I noticed on my receipt that I had the small bowl. I was wondering about the pricing. How did you determine the prices of the small and large bowls? The prices are very close, and perhaps the small bowl should be a little smaller for under $6.99 or less.

We set our prices as low as possible in order to encourage people to eat healthy. We are adding many new products in the next few weeks as well, such as an Acai Oatmeal Bowl and Organic Soup for the winter. We may add more items under $6.99 in the future. We really want to be as affordable as we can while still offering top quality healthy meals. I plan to try some of the other bowl combinations and maybe the oatmeal or soup when it is available.

5. Have you spoken to the Director of Economic Development for the City, or gotten any help from the City in starting up?

Yes, the city of San Ramon was a big help and they are very encouraging of new companies and bringing business to the area.

6. You seem to be off to a good start. It would be a good thing for San Ramon to have a growing business here. Would you keep your headquarters here or move to a bigger city?

We live in San Ramon and love our community. We really felt San Ramon needed a healthy food option and we're are trying our hardest to offer our residents healthy, nutritious, affordable and delicious food options at Vitality Bowls.

The map shows the location near Alcosta Blvd., but it is really around the back across from the medical building. I'm going there for my annual physical in November. I'll ask my Doctor what he thinks about Vitality Bowls and if the Acai berry is really a wonder fruit.

The bad reputation of some of the supplements was because they were not using real Acai Berries or very little of them. Since the Gilads are importing the real thing from Brazil, and serving them as food and not in pill form, the nutritional value should be retained.

If drinking a smoothie or eating a bowl with Acai berries every day for a month helps me lose weight, improve my memory (which is fading), clear up my skin rashes, and help me sleep better, or any one of those things, I'll let you know.

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