Three days after the grand opening of Cherry Pickin’ juice bar in NuLu, co-owner Lavell Wells was on a plane to Las Vegas.
He was gone for almost two weeks to work on a documentary for AMC Networks. While Wells was gone, Sydney Smith, his partner and co-owner of the juice bar, held down the fort.
The name Cherry Pickin’ and the hoops theme throughout the juice shop pays homage to the couple’s shared love of basketball. From the cherry-picking play on the wall inside the store to the names of the smoothies to the labels on the bottles of juice, every aspect of the juicery was carefully thought out, crafted and brought to life by the couple’s business partner, Katrina “Kat” Taylor, a Philadelphia-based graphic designer.
The juicery is a way for Smith, who graduated from the University of Louisville and also co-runs a sports marketing company called DOE Sports, to create her own legacy in the city where her father, Derek, won the 1980 national championship with U of L men’s basketball and her younger brother, Nolan, is now part of the coaching staff.
It’s a large undertaking for Smith and Wells as they look to create an inclusive space at Cherry Pickin’ while also balancing their careers in sports marketing and film.
“I think a lot of people are opening up to the space because they feel like it’s a space for them,” Wells said.
Basketball is all Smith knows.
Some of her earliest memories were of her father, Derek, coaching for the Washington Bullets before his death on Aug. 9, 1996.
As a teenager, Smith helped her stepfather, Curtis Malone, run the DC Assault AAU team. It ended in 2013 when Malone was arrested and eventually convicted for his role in a