juice press, NY Post, Marcus Antebi, goodsugar

squeezed by my dad: NY Post Article

(Note from the founder of goodsugar: I'm sharing articles from my Juice Press days because it was a significant 10-year chapter of my life. It's also fun and inspiring. goodsugar marks my second venture in the health food industry, and it represents a progressive leap with an improved brand and product. I can confidently say goodsugar is better due to fewer creative constraints, smoother operations, and a focus on quality over profits. I birthed goodsugar in the same passionate, frenzied manner as Juice Press, right from my living room laptop. Thank you.)

Family Feud

Back in 2014, my father, David Antebi, became the owner of the only Juice Press franchise we established. After the initial success of our first two stores, he wanted to join in on the momentum. So, we created a franchise for him on 3rd Avenue and 62nd Street.

Surprisingly, his store emerged as the most successful in the entire chain. It operated as a self-contained entity, independent of the broader company we were building around it. In fact, my dad's store played a pivotal role in propelling Juice Press to widespread recognition, attracting even my investors and their families. This solidified their trust in the brand.

The lawsuit ensued due to the strained relationship between my business partner and my dad, driven by personal conflicts rather than business reasons. Despite the fact that Juice Press was experiencing considerable success at the time, tensions escalated. Interestingly, after my father sold his store back to the company, many of the operational elements and discount programs at the core of their disputes were later adopted.

Ultimately, my dad desired an exit and began harassing us, leading to the filing of a lawsuit against Juice Press. While this initially upset me, I later understood that his strategy was designed to facilitate his retirement and move to Florida. He eventually sold his store back to us and reached a satisfactory settlement.

When my dad initiated legal action against Juice Press, he shared his approach with me. Although I was initially frustrated, I came to recognize that his decision was in his best interest, ultimately leading to a beneficial outcome for both sides.

The lawsuit was filed in New York City, and my dad took an unconventional step by hiring a PR firm to notify the NY Post. The newspaper deemed the story newsworthy and featured it prominently. Surprisingly, this situation turned into a public relations boon for me, as I found myself on page six for the third time. However, this instance included a large photo alongside the story. Paradoxically, my dad inadvertently contributed to enhancing our public image by suing us, even though the story could have been seen as "negative." It ended up not reflecting poorly on either me or Juice Press.

Circa 2014:

"Now here’s a juicy tale…Father suing son and son counter suing father over an alleged squeeze out in juice bar market. Got that? The Big Apple, fittingly, is home to the successful fruit and vegetable drinks chain, Juice Press, and now, a couple of lawsuits between Marcus Antebi, 45, who founded the Juice Press stores, popular with celebrities (no comment), and his 72 year old father who opened his own franchise in New York, at the behest of his son.

Marcus Antebi’s trendy ‘fresh and healthy’ beverages, which include the Tumeric Tonic for $7 a bottle and Doctor Green Juice at $11 a shot, are enormously popular in Manhattan and the company grew to 25 stores over four years. Who knew. Why buy a juicer? I digress. So Marcus brought his father, a retired and overweight antiques dealer, into the business with his own franchise. (Dad, allegedly, lost 20 lbs by getting on board the fresh vegetable wagon. He’s reportedly boasted that it helped him lose the weight.)

But is seems the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree in this family: Dad decided to open an outlet in Florida, a market his son has been trying to get into for a year, reportedly. And, to add insult to injury his father also, allegedly, displayed a sign in his NY store window stating: “We are the only independently owned and operated Juice Press store in the chain. We hope you will continue to purchase all your juices, smoothies and food from us.” Nice. And—yes—there’s more—Dad also added unapproved menu items.

So, time to put down the carrots and lawyer up. First to file—David, the dad—with a pre-emptive lawsuit to open an outlet in Florida after his son allegedly threatened to block the spin-off. According to my favorite news source, The New York Post, David Antebi claims his son’s competitive nature is getting in the way of a good business opportunity. Sorry? Filing a pre-emptive lawsuit is not competitive? Who’s been drinking the KoolAid here?

Not surprisingly, Marcus is not happy. “I am particularly upset to learn about the complaint made by my father towards Juice Press—which is my baby, especially when I gave my dad the opportunity to make a career for himself operating a store, and to be healthy doing so,” he said.

So Juice Press (aka Marcus) is now countersuing to force Dad to take down the sign and remove unapproved items from his menu, which include a Chia Fireball juice and an Apple Cobbler. Dad’s not having it, claiming the countersuit is “a phony defense,’’ insisting, “It’s a simple sign thanking our customers.’’ (NYPost). And, he allegedly claims his son’s success has led to an oversaturation of the Manhattan juice-bar market that is negatively impacting his bottom line. Well, if Starbucks is any model to base oversaturation on, according to blogger John McCourt, who spent a year visiting every Starbucks in Manhattan, there are over 200 Starbucks locations just in Manhattan—forget about the other four boroughs. Somehow 25 Juice Press outlets doesn’t seem so…saturated.

But back to Juice Press…even more confounding, David (the dad) then said, he has “lost” his son over the dispute. What the heck’s in these drinks?

Marcus reportedly is arguing that his contract with his father “does not give him the right to use our proprietary information and/or our techniques in any way against us.” And, “We have been actively looking to open locations for over a year in the state that my father is now trying to compete in,” he said.

Dad’s version—his contract reportedly prevents him only from opening rival outlets in five states, namely New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania or Massachusetts. 

Marcus told The Post he was “upset” by the lawsuit, but he will “continue to love my father.” 

David also said that although he has a “terrible relationship” with his son, he’s still filled with pride for his son’s success.  “The product is excellent. Juice Press is the best. I give that to them,” he said.

While all the surrounding press may be good for business, maybe these two should sit down over a couple of martinis—shaken not stirred—olives optional."

"After Marcus Antebi founded Juice Press, the successful chain of juice bars famous for cold pressed concoctions, he gave his father David Antebi a piece of the action by setting him up with his own franchise. But now the Post reports that David has filed a lawsuit against his son, because Marcus has threatened to block him from opening a juice bar chain of his own in Florida. He claims that he's only restricted from opening in the Northeast, but the Marcus counters that Juice Press is already eying Florida for future expansion, and that furthermore, his father is forbidden from using "proprietary information and/or our techniques" in an independent project. Juice Press currently operates 25 stores in Manhattan, which isn't helping matters much, since David claims that kind of juice saturation is cutting in on his profits here in the city."

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