Gerrard Sheppard didn’t know much about eating healthy when he was a wide receiver playing at the University of Connecticut and Towson University.

It wasn’t until the Owings Mills native signed with the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted free agent that he learned how important it was to take care of his body. And that meant going beyond just hitting the gym.

Now, four years later, Sheppard is opening Sunset Raw Juice Bar at Foundry Row in Owings Mills along with his parents and sister. The shop will offer a variety of fresh smoothies, protein bowls and other raw food items.

“Coming into the NFL in my rookie year, I got mentored by a lot of guys who took care of their bodies and understood the importance of working out and putting the proper nutrition in your body,” said Sheppard, 26, who attended the McDonogh School. “In college I had no idea what to do, but from that point on I learned a lot of things.”

Sheppard played three years of football at the University of Connecticut before transferring to Towson. He was on the Ravens practice squad during his rookie year and was signed briefly by the Green Bay Packers during the 2014 offseason. He most recently played for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Canadian Football League.

Sunset Raw Juice Bar is opening in 1,482 square feet next to Panera Bread. The family signed the lease to open in the $140 million development in February and joins the likes of Wegmans, Bar Louie and Chipotle.

Sheppard said for the past three years he and his family have tried to travel around the country to visit juice bars and see what worked and what didn’t work. This is the first venture into the food industry for the family and Sheppard will serve as general manager alongside his sister and oversee day-to-day operations.

Growing up in Owings Mills, Sheppard said his parents pushed nature as opposed to medicine, meaning they would be healthy if they ate fruits and vegetables and “soaked up some good Vitamin D from the sun.” It wasn’t until around 2011 when they started getting into juices.

Sheppard declined to disclose the investment in opening the juice bar. The store will be open 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 7 a.m.-10 p.m. on Saturdays and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sundays.

“Being born and raised in Owings Mills, there are not too many options out there for people who want to take health and fitness to the next level,” Sheppard said. “Now we can share that same care for one’s body with the people in the community.”

The family is already scouting other potential locations to expand Sunset Raw Juice Bar around Greater Baltimore, although Sheppard said they have not narrowed it down enough to talk about where.


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