Juice Pod owner Danielle Leonhardt, left, and Abby Burdsall, manager of the Sea Isle location, share a light moment.


When other businesses were thinking about downsizing or closing shop during the COVID-19 pandemic, Danielle Leonhardt did something else with her healthy foods and smoothies company, Juice Pod.

She expanded her business — big time.

She opened new Juice Pods and partnered with other business savvy people who opened a franchise “pod.”

Danielle opened her first Juice Pod in 2016 in Avalon. Then her business grew with the opening of the very successful Sea Isle City location on the Promenade.

And now the number tops 12 Juice Pods and counting. While most are in the Pennsylvania area, the latest opened in North Wildwood on the Boardwalk.

“It was just that with the pandemic, everyone was focusing on their health,” Danielle said in an interview from her Sea Isle location. “We offer foods that are delicious and good for you.”

Greens, vitamins, fruits, cold pressed juices and all of the freshest ingredients to create chilled superfood smoothies, along with the favorite acai bowls, are just some of the items offered on the menu.

All of the choices, including milks from coconut to almond milk, give options galore to customers.

Smoothies are filled with antioxidants and fresh fruits and veggies. (Photo courtesy of thejuicepod.com)

There are also a bunch of healthy salads, wraps, soups, Paninis, waffles and toast to choose from.

All of the foods are created with locally sourced and organic food options to give optimal nutrition.

“It’s a way of life for me,” Danielle said of her healthy diet. “It makes me feel better and I want my customers to feel good, too.”

After the entrepreneur opened her Sea Isle location in 2018, with some help from her husband, Jon Leonhardt, she partnered with her sister, Christine Wyatt, in 2019 to open Juice Pods in Bryn Mawr, Pa., and Springfield, Pa.

Then the pandemic hit.

And Danielle, well, she kept doing what she was doing all along, growing successful businesses to offer customers good and healthy food.

Leonhardt opened other Juice Pods in Swedesboro, N.J, and in Pennsylvania in Newtown Square and through partnerships with other businesspeople to open stores in Ambler, Lionville and Downingtown, Jon Leonhardt explained Thursday. Other locations are in Ridley and Malvern, also in Pennsylvania.

“We entered into partnerships and we have an ownership in them,” Jon noted of some of the latest expansions, adding that Danielle helps the new Juice Pod business owners with menus, setting up of the store and other things to help make their Juice Pod successful.

Julia Bulgarelli, 20, of Avondale, Pa., and her 17-year-old sister, Bella, enjoy a smoothie and an acai bowl at Juice Pod in Sea Isle.

The Leonhardts, who have homes in Avalon and Newtown Square, Pa., have three children, Taylor, 25, Ava 22, and Mia, 20. They juggle a lot to make sure they are running Juice Pods that offer healthy food options for their customers.

“As we speak, Danielle is driving up home and signing a deal in Lansdale, Pa.,” Jon said in an interview.

He added that it is a lot of work, but worth it.

“I am 100 percent supportive of Danielle in this endeavor and her expansion. I’m just doing what I can to help her along the way,” Jon said. “I’ve been an entrepreneur myself for 30-plus years and that is what helped us get to this point.”

But running Juice Pod takes more than just the freshest and healthiest foods on the menu.

Juice Pod offers a wide selection of healthy drinks.

The people who work there matter a lot.

Danielle and Sea Isle Juice Pod manager, Abby Burdsall, chatted as customers lined up for their smoothies and acai bowls on a busy recent weekday.

“It’s like this every morning in the summer,” Danielle said. “People do their exercises and get ready for the beach and stop in. A lot of people ride their bikes up.”

Danielle said in all of the Juice Pod shops, there are staples and new selections offered regularly.

“We always change and try new and different items, but we keep the staples,” she noted.

And for all of the Juice Pods, customers can do online orders, so that when they are ready to pick up their smoothies, bowls or salads, they will be waiting.

“The food tastes good and you don’t feel bad about the food you eat,” Burdsall said.

Delicious salads with the freshest ingredients are on the menu. (Photo courtesy of thejuicepod.com)

Burdsall, who goes to college in Florida, said that even when she comes home for vacation and is off work, she stops in for a smoothie.

“Every bite is delicious,” she said.

Julia Bulgarelli, 20, of Avondale, Pa., and her 17-year-old sister, Bella, stopped in at Juice Pod for a treat while on vacation in Sea Isle.

Julia ordered the “Green Glo” smoothie, which is made with kale, spinach, mint, banana, mango, celery, apple and coconut water.

“I’m a smoothie person. It looked so tasty out of all of my options,” she said.

Bella opted for the “Nutter Butter” acai bowl, which is topped with granola, blueberries, bananas, peanut butter and Nutella.

“It’s delicious,” Bella said. “We have been coming to Juice Pod for the last couple of summers that we have vacationed in Sea Isle. It’s a real treat.”

For information about Juice Pods and the different locations, visit https://www.thejuicepod.com/

Juice Pod in Sea Isle City is located on the Promenade at 11 43rd Street.


Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.