Whether it’s 22 degrees and snowing, or a rainy Tuesday in April, step inside Playa Bowls and it’s always a warm, sunny day at the beach. Since its opening in January of 2020, the trendy spot has taken Newtown by storm with its delicious selection of smoothies, fruit bowls and juices.
Playa Bowls is the ultimate success story. The brand, started in 2014 by surfers Rob Giuliani and Abby Taylor, began as “a pair of blenders, a folding table and a fridge” in a makeshift acai bowl and smoothie stand in Belmar, NJ. The little sidewalk stand was so popular that the couple soon expanded to a storefront, and now just seven short years later, the company has grown to over 100 stores nationwide.
The Newtown location is one of the newest additions to the Playa Bowl franchise, stemming from an unexpected twist of fate that began as most grand ideas do… over cocktails. A few years ago, Mike and Bronwyn Bergen were casually having drinks with their neighbor in Belmar. Turns out that neighbor was Playa Bowls founder, Giuliani. The Bergens had been toying with the idea of opening a small business when Giuliani posed the idea of bringing Playa Bowls to Newtown. As fitness and health food fanatics themselves, the couple decided that Playa Bowls aligned perfectly with their lifestyle and interests. Six months later, in January of 2020, Playa Bowls Newtown became a reality. The shop was an immediate success, and in fact became so popular that loyal customers began travelling from Yardley and Fairless Hills, carrying coolers with them to transport their beloved bowls back home. The entrepreneurs soon realized there was enough demand to open a second location, and in October, Playa Bowls in Fairless Hills opened its doors.
If you have yet to try one of Playa’s signature bowls, you’ve been warned….they are incredibly addictive! The store offers an impressive array of customizable options, made with one of 5 bases - acai, pitaya, coconut, banana or kale. The base is then topped with fresh fruit and additional ingredients, such as granola, nuts, seeds and even peanut butter or Nutella. Delicious bowls and smoothies are just part of the overall experience, however. The surf shack themed shops themselves are fun and inviting, with upbeat music and beachy décor, including reclaimed wood tables, bright ocean-themed murals, and colorful stools. It’s the perfect spot to relax with friends, and of course, take an Instagram worthy photo or two.
The company’s image does not stop with palm trees and surf boards, however. Playa Bowls is also very committed to promoting “green living” whenever possible. As store manager Leah Patterson says, “At Playa Bowls our mission is to lead communities in healthy and sustainable living by showing them that every little bit counts when being eco-friendly … right down to the spoons we use! We are always looking for ways to make a strong positive impact on our environment, so sustainability is often at the forefront of many of our business decisions. The ocean provides our surf and the earth's soil provides our amazing berries, so doing our best to protect the environment will always be a huge part of the business and our lifestyle.”
Owner Bronwyn Bergen adds that Playa’s commitment to green practices was one of several factors that initially attracted them to the business. “Sustainability has been an important pillar of the Playa Bowls brand and it’s also super important to our family. It was another sign that this brand was something we were aligned with.”
The company uses high quality plant-based and eco-friendly materials whenever possible. Their plastic bowls are made from recycled water bottles, and ECO Spoons are used in all of their locations (fun fact: the spoons are made from corn!). In addition, the materials used to build each store is sourced from 50% reclaimed or refurbished materials, and all lighting in their newer locations is 100% LED lighting technology.
The Bergens are grateful for the warm welcome they have received from the community and are equally grateful for the opportunity to promote wholesome food and an eco-friendly mission in return. “We love getting to serve our communities in healthy and sustainable living and hope to do so for many years to come!”
2913 S Eagle Road (Village at Newtown Shopping Center)