I would defy anyone spending more than about an hour in Copenhagen not to have at least seen the pink ubiquitous Joe & the Juice sign on their travels. This juice chain recently celebrated its 10th anniversary and has started opening up branches in the UK, Germany, Sweden and Norway.
A trip to Joe & the Juice has been a treat I have enjoyed since I was pregnant with my son and the taste has obviously worn off on to him as well as a juice or smoothie from here is one of his favourite treats.
We often wonder how they get past the equal employment laws as I think I have only ever seen one female employee in any of the branches but the atmosphere is great and despite the fact the interiors look like they are aimed just at cool young people, J&tJ doesn’t seem to alienate anyone and at any given busy time in our local one on Gammel Konegvej you can see people of all ages enjoying the freshly made juices, coffees and sandwiches.
But what I really wanted to talk about here, with the success of this Danish chain as an example, is how Denmark seems to support its own chains and also individual outlets and designers, and seems to discourage big multinationals which we find clogging up our high streets in the UK.
Take all the popular clothing brands here – Vero Moda, Vila, H&M, Name it – all Scandinavian. Of course there is TopShop and the Body Shop and somehow New Balance appear to have started to sponsor the footwear of the under forty population of Copenhagen (this all happened whilst I was in fashion exile) but on the whole Danes seem to support and believe in their own brands and chains.
Over the last five years I have seen an explosion of what were previously chains of two or three outlets into major Danish chains – Emmerys, Lagerkagehuset, Klippestuen Z and of course, Joe & the Juice to name to more prominent ones. But at the same time Starbucks has managed to open just one other branch outside the airport at Fields but then again that corner of the (chain) market has been filled by Baresso. Baresso are everywhere but I still see one off coffee houses looking very busy and more opening so I guess there is still space in that market.
There is a slow creep of chains here but they feel more homely and less like cultural imperialism from other countries as they are homegrown and still seem to be rooted in their original form. I like the originality of shopping here, where the individual mix with the chains. Do you?