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She Lost Her Brand When Investors Didn't Share Her Vision. Here's What She Did Next. It's a story with a happy ending.

By Stephanie Schomer

This story appears in the January 2017 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Douglas Young

Denise Mari lost her younger sister (and, later, her mother) to leukemia, and it changed her perspective on everything. "My lifestyle moved to plant-based organic eating, meditation, yoga and mindfulness," she says. She wanted to create a business centered on those qualities, and in 2002 she launched Organic Avenue with her then boyfriend. They sold healthy but yummy bottled juices -- a somewhat new thing at the time.

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In 2006, Organic Avenue opened its first storefront in Manhattan. It became a cult favorite among the city's health-conscious, who loved blends like Resilience (carrot, apple, turmeric, ginger) and Determination (celery, cucumber, romaine, kale, spinach, lemon). By 2009, the company was doubling its growth every year -- but the market was becoming crowded with competitors. A full-on juice craze had started, and Mari worried about staying ahead of it. So she started looking for capital.

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