Shannon Weston said she could write books about how hard it’s been to expand her Lone Tree-based business during the pandemic.
While many businesses were contracting, Vibe Foods opened its second, third and fourth locations in the 20 months following COVID-19’s arrival in Colorado. Yet through it all, owner Weston remained confident in the local chain’s success, she said.
“It’s the power of good food and positivity,” Weston told Colorado Community Media. People underestimate it, but she said she’s seen lives change when people eat healthily.
Vibe Foods serves smoothies, superfood bowls, wellness shots, bone broth, kombucha and freshly squeezed organic juice in Colorado and Tennessee. The products are minimally processed and free of gluten, dairy and refined sugar.
According to Weston, professional athletes, yoga moms, high school kids and folks with impaired immune systems are all part of a unique customer base that appreciates Vibe Foods’ nutritious, colorful menu.
Weston’s been on the health train for over 15 years now, but that wasn’t always the case.
“My generation was so divorced from the idea of what goes in your mouth makes a difference in your health,” the 54-year-old mother of four said.
In fact, it took a crisis for her to make the connection between food and well-being.
In 2008, Weston’s son was diagnosed with celiac disease and lab work showed he was deficient in several nutrients. “Massive” changes were needed, but his health — and the health of the whole family — “turned on a dime” once they cut gluten and artificial ingredients from their diet, she said.
“We became really, really, really good cooks and really obsessed with making everything from scratch.”
Weston read all she could on nutrition and holistic health. Later, she used that knowledge and her healthy home-cooking experience to open Vibe Foods in 2017.
“I have total faith in what we’re doing,” she said of Vibe Foods’ mission.
Because she believes there’s a need for what they offer, Weston remained optimistic even though one thing after another seemed to go wrong as she tried to navigate Vibe Foods through the pandemic.
A granola shortage, a compostable cup shortage, equipment delays, permit delays, price hikes — Weston said she has 50 stories about the complications that hindered her expansion dreams.
“It’s been the craziest two years of our lives,” Weston said of the work she and her husband, Mark Weston, have put into the business. “We’re both exhausted, but thank God we have superfoods.”
Vibe Foods’ latest store, located in Littleton’s Aspen Grove shopping center, opened four months ago. However, it doesn’t sound like Weston is slowing down much.
New juicing equipment is going in at the Parker location, Vibe Foods’ largest eatery, and she’s considering adding an additional location in Tennessee.
Once supply chain disruptions abate, hopefully within the next 12 months, the company will launch paleo baked goods and collagen-protein waffles in its restaurants. They’re just one more way Weston hopes to use food to change health outcomes.
“It’s a mission,” she said. “It’s a passion. It’s a lifestyle.”