- April 5, 2022
When it comes to creating her ideal açaí bowl, Jessi McClary is all about the toppings — peanut butter, fruit, granola.
But everybody is different, which is why she built her new smoothie bar in Ormond Beach around the "build your own" concept. Customers choose a base, then their "crunch," what fruit they would like and finally, choose an unlimited number of toppings.
"It's different and people seem to really enjoy it," McClary said. "The thing these days is people want quality, and they want quantity and they want it to be healthy. I've tried hard to hit all those marks."
Solberry opened on March 7 at the Granada Plaza, located at 205 E. Granada Blvd. It's a business a couple years in the making.
McClary and her family returned to town in 2022 following about two years of traveling around the country in their RV. She recalled one day when they were in the "middle of nowhere Utah" and she decided to look for a smoothie bar that offered açaí bowls in the area.
The closest one was two hours away, and when they arrived, she discovered it had a "build your own" concept.
"I was like, 'This is brilliant,'" McClary said.
A nurse for about 8 years, McClary always had an interest in health. While traveling the country, she developed a deeper love for creating healthy snacks and foods for her family, all as she navigated the challenges of having a small RV kitchen.
The family grew homesick, though, and upon their return to Ormond Beach, her fiancé — who is an ICU nurse — spoke about her going back to work as a nurse too. But McClary knew she wanted to pursue a different path.
In May 2022, she started looking for a place to open her smoothie bar. When she noticed a space open at Granada Plaza, she went for it.
In addition to açaí bowls, Solberry offers coffees, teas, smoothies and baked goods.
It's been rewarding, McClary said. Since she opened, customers have been coming and going in a steady flow, and she even got to participate in the annual Taste of Ormond event on March 5, two days before Solberry was officially open.
"This was a long journey, a very long journey, and to finally have opened my doors and not feel like I'm struggling is very, very, very comforting," McClary said.
There are touches inside her smoothie bar that remind her of family, down to its name, inspired by her 20-month-old daughter Rae. The smoothies were named after things her three children love too, and the art on the walls was done by her fiancé's cousin, local artist Natasha Azari.
Creating a sense of community and connection through Solberry are important goals for McClary. It's not something one finds in every town, and it's something she missed while on the road, she said.
"I want people to feel a connection when they come in," McClary said. "... I just want them to feel good, whether it's the environment or the food or learning about the food."
Solberry is currently open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Visit solberrybowls.com.