Montclair resident Hyacinth Mills is a raw food chef, vegan, holistic nutritionist and the mom of two vegan boys. Through her company, New Life Journeys, Mills promotes a healthier way of life through personal chef services, cleanses and healthy lifestyle education.
She also sells some of her raw, vegan food–Hyacinth’s Macaroons and Hyacinth’s Raw Granola–at the Montclair Farmers’ Market and select Whole Foods stores. Her ultimate goal, however, is to expand her business to include a vegan restaurant in Montclair.
“There are many health-related activities available in Montclair, from cycling, yoga, fitness centers, pilates, zumba etc.,” she says. “But what is missing in this town is a location where you can get a fresh pressed juice or a superfood shake that’s organic, a place to go out for lunch or dinner and have a gourmet style vegan or raw food dish to eat, that’s free of gluten or soy and that has healthy meals for children.”
Last year, Mills entered the Start Something Challenge, a challenge by Rising Tide Capital to help New Jersey’s entrepreneurs actualize their business initiatives. In December, she learned she was one of the lucky winners, receiving $5,000 to go toward her restaurant, which she hopes to open in Montclair sometime this summer.
The restaurant, which will be named FLOW (an acronym for Fresh Live organic and Whole, plant based cuisine), will serve organic, locally-sourced vegan fare–created by a “world-renowned vegan chef,” she tells us–as well as a juice bar, grab-and-go meals, and a store. It will also offer detox programs.
“FLOW will be unique in that it will be gluten-, soy- and dairy-free, serve gourmet raw foods, organic fresh pressed juices and feature an educational component to help people stay on track even when they are not dining at FLOW,” Mills says.
This week, Mills began a fundraiser on Indiegogo (which includes a promotional video) to help her secure a location for the restaurant and to purchase equipment, appliances, small wares and furnishings. Initially, she is hoping to raise $25,000. The campaign will run for six weeks.
“I am reaching out to the community to help make FLOW a reality, a project for the community, by the community and beyond. We are currently seeking and working with investors and will be personally contributing to the project,” she says. “We are working hard to open our doors this summer and look forward to serving the Montclair community and surrounding counties.”