News, Opinion, & Multimedia for Tamalpais High School

The Tam News

News, Opinion, & Multimedia for Tamalpais High School

The Tam News

News, Opinion, & Multimedia for Tamalpais High School

The Tam News

Juice Girl


In the heart of Mill Valley, Juice Girl has long been more than just a place to grab a healthy snack. It has fostered a sense of community that transcends the physical boundaries of the shop. 

The driving force behind the establishment has been Karen Olson, Tamalpais High School (Tam) Parent and owner, who will now be passing the ropes on to a new family. After seven years of ownership, Olson sold Juice Girl on Sunday, April 1. The shop’s legacy stands as a testament to the importance of community involvement. 

In 2017, Olson worked alongside local mom Melora Johnson and the two flipped the former Jamba Juice, to provide healthy and fresh meal options. When Johnson moved away, Olson bought and became the sole owner of the store. 

With its proximity to Tam and Mill Valley Middle School (MVMS), Juice Girl has built its community off students and staff from the two schools. Olson, with her last child graduating from Tam in June, will return to her former career in social work. 

“My main goal in having Juice Girl was being a part of the Tam and wider Mill Valley community. There wasn’t any space for kids to eat and hang out. It started with my kids coming before and after school, and then quickly, their friends and others,” Olson said. 

Many middle school and high school students spend mornings before class at Juice Girl or walk over for an afternoon snack. 

“Pretty much all of middle school I got dropped off at Juice Girl in the morning, and would walk over to MVMS. I would go after school as well, sit down, and wait until a parent could get me or my sports practice. That morning routine continued before I got my license in high school,” senior Sophie Safrit said. 

Providing a space for kids to hang out was the first of many ways Juice Girl has integrated itself into the community. 

“The schools then began asking me for donations and to be part of their fundraisers, or bring smoothies to events. It kept evolving and getting more requests from schools,” Olson said. 

Juice Girl is an official partner of the Tam Boosters, a non-profit that provides funding for Tam athletics and the Tam Foundation, a non-profit that provides funding to all Tam enrichment programs. 

“I have always had a discount for employees at Tam. Ralph [Ralph Wilson Jr.] comes in every day and orders a smoothie. I give the Tam students a discount during lunch, and I support the sports teams, like hosting team dinners or donating smoothies after practice. I have also made class-specific donations. It will be a day where a percentage of profits go to their class,” Olson said. 

According to her, around 25 percent of weekday sales comes from the Tam students at lunch. 

Juice Girl’s community involvement has expanded outside of the schools. During Covid, the store partnered with Feed the Frontlines Marin (FTFL), and has been building a long-time relationship with Play Marin. Olson spent time during 2020 delivering Juice Girl to senior citizens at 6 a.m. so they would not have to risk exposure to COVID-19. 

“I started Feed The Frontline Marin to help keep local restaurants in business, while also helping out healthcare workers who were risking their lives at the time,” founder of FTFL and junior at Vanderbilt University, Kylie Frame said. “We raised money to buy food from local restaurants we partnered with, and then delivered that food to frontline workers. Juice Girl was one of our biggest partners, I loved being able to support them, and I think they loved supporting people in the community.” 

As Olson passes on the reigns, she said she hopes that community involvement remains a core value of the shop. 

Karen’s expertise in community building and social welfare through Juice Girl has been remarkable,” Fayzan Izhar, the new owner, said. “She has established strong connections with NGOs, local artists, musicians, social workers, police officers, and schools like Tam High. This unique network and support for the community are what make Juice Girl stand out. I aim to continue and even enhance Juice Girl’s involvement in the community.” 

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