Tori Holmes is magnetic. She has a fire—or as she would say, a fuego—that is infectious, her vibrant spirit rubbing off on those who come in to contact with her. As the owner of Vancouver’s Nectar Juicery, Holmes spends her days preaching the gospel of natural medicine; this company is about so much more than juice.
“Juice is the gateway drug to healthy living,” Holmes says from behind the counter at Nectar’s second location on 7th and Manitoba (the first is in Gastown, with a third at Main and 20th). Still, Nectar is not the typical juicery simply selling cold-pressed ginger-carrot potions and vegan acai bowls. Rather, it is a full-fledged natural wellness apothecary, hawking the earth’s organic remedies and explaining exactly how they can help our bodies.
Holmes’s relationship with holistic nutrition is personal. At the age of 21, she rowed across the Atlantic Ocean with only one other person in her 24-foot boat, making her the first woman ever to complete the feat. Despite being in physical shape, she was later diagnosed with breast cancer, which she calls “the greatest gift of my life. It taught me cause and effect, and it taught me contrast.” And it led her to explore the ways that her body was failing her.
She spent a decade learning about Ancient Chinese Medicine and became a certified nutritionist, eventually launching Nectar in 2014 with a business partner who has since left the company. Those health and healing philosophies from Holmes’s studies are ever-present at Nectar’s locations, where shelves are lined with ingredients like triphala (good for digestion) and charcoal (purifies water) and lion’s mane (increases circulation to the brain). “These are all micro-investments in your body,” Holmes says over an imitate group breakfast. “I’m a hustler of vitality.”
That means anyone who wanders into a Nectar storefront can leave with increased knowledge on organs, sexuality, confidence, and intuition. Of course, these powders and crystals and roller tools (which at first glance look like they belong to a dentist) are not for everyone, and Holmes is not suggesting that people come in and purchase the whole gamut or start planning business meetings around the cycle of the moon (which she does). Rather, she recommends starting with one issue—whether it be stomach problems, a weak immune system, or low energy—and trying to address it naturally.
There is still plenty of delicious juice as well, and the new locations will also serve food such as Seeded Crispbread with Almond Beet Dip—“You could just be eating a cracker—or you could be eating a cracker and taking your gut to the gym!”—and Spice Brined Activated Cashews. “I want people to know that we are a health company,” Holmes asserts. The point is to dip a toe into a different pool and see if the water feels right. Though after spending a bit of time with Holmes, it’s hard not to want to cannonball all the way in.
UPDATE, October 2018: Nectar has closed its 7th and Manitoba location, but the Gastown and Main Street outposts remain open.