In the 1950s, developers behind the John Jacob Astor Hotel painted the downtown landmark pink in hopes of drawing visitors.
Heather Hirschi, who recently turned the former Nourish Juice Bar on the building’s ground floor into the Pink Elephant Juice Emporium, thought the bit of history a fitting namesake for her new shop.
Hirschi, who relocated to Astoria last year from Utah, previously worked as an adjunct writing professor at the University of Utah. Disillusioned with the lack of pay and support, she left the university a couple of years ago for southern Utah, where she worked on what she described as a coming-of-old age novel she’s so far titled “Night Bird.”
“A friend brought me to Astoria on a vacation in June of 2018,” she said. “We came across the (Astoria) bridge, and I just felt like I was going to live here.”
Hirschi lived in Manzanita and Seaside, moving to Astoria in October. She kept working on “Night Bird,” and trying to get a position at Clatsop Community College.
Then she learned about Nourish Juice Bar in the Astor Hotel building. Eryn and Jackson Boone, who started the juice bar in a cart before moving into the Astor, recently left to Hawaii.
“I’d applied for jobs not really full steam, because I was focusing on the writing, but knew around this time I needed to find something,” Hirschi said. “This makes more sense than anything else, when it comes down to it.”
Hirshci has long been a fan of juicing. In Utah, she once underwent a 21-day juice fast after experiencing health problems.
“I was having a lot of health problems, and it really reversed some of them,” she said. “I was a vegan for several years as a result of that initial fast, and I still tend to eat mostly vegetarian. Living on the coast, I sometimes eat fish.”
Hirschi runs Pink Elephant much like Nourish Juice Bar, offering an array of juices, smoothies and bowls. She carries breads and pastries from from Blue Scorcher Bakery & Cafe, granola from The Naked Lemon and soups from Good to Go. In a nod to her business name, Hirschi donates a portion of her sales to relief for elephants being poached and used in circuses.
Pink Elephant also serves as an art gallery, currently carrying fused glass and jewelry by artist Christine Kende. Hirschi has added her shop to the Astoria Second Saturday Art Walk and the Ferry Street Friday Block Party celebration for 14th Street businesses on July 19.