Coco Pipa Blends Global Nutrition With Community On Castle Street

By Jessica Maurer, posted Jun 26, 2024
Coco Pipa founders Lizzy Fowler and Isaac Bol aim to offer affordable and nutritious smoothies, salads and acai bowls at their new Castle Street shop. (Photo courtesy of Riek Bol)
Coco Pipa, a vibrant new addition to Castle Street, brings a unique blend of global nutrition and local community spirit to the neighborhood.

Life partners and founders Lizzy Fowler and Isaac Bol say the business reflects their love of travel and a shared belief in the importance of access to nutritious food.

The concept for Coco Pipa was inspired by their time living in Costa Rica where they enjoyed a slower pace of life and abundant, fresh produce. Costa Rica is known for its Pura Vida or “pure life” philosophy, which encompasses not only food but also a spirit of positivity and tranquility.

Bol said the experience reminded him of his childhood in Ethiopia where he would climb mango trees and eat fresh fruit from the branches. But both Bol and Fowler, who grew up in Maine, had limited access to healthy foods throughout their childhoods.

Only as adults have they come to realize the power of healthy food as medicine for the body with its ability to help prevent disease and contribute to overall well-being.

“It’s through our travels that we realized how food affects our bodies,” Fowler said. “It is also how we learned about the importance of slowing down and taking the time to make a thoughtful, beautiful plate of food. I think we’ve lost that here in the U.S. where everything is so fast-paced.”

After returning to the U.S. and exploring the East Coast, the couple found themselves charmed by the Wilmington community and eventually decided to settle here.

They opened Coco Pipa to help address the lack of accessible, nutritious food options along Castle Street, an area that has long lacked such resources. Their mission is to provide affordable, healthful food and educate the community about the benefits of proper nutrition.

Coco Pipa’s menu is crafted with this intention, featuring fresh fruit smoothies starting at $5. The pricing strategy aims to ensure nutritious options are more accessible. Their offerings include a variety of smoothies, salads and acai bowls that are made from fresh fruits, vegetables and superfoods combined to maximize both flavor and nutritional value.

The shop is more than just a place to grab a healthy meal, however. It’s a vibrant, welcoming space that invites customers to slow down and enjoy their food. 

The interior features a hand-built bamboo bar, colorful murals and Mexican tiles that reflect the founders’ travels and philosophy. The atmosphere is designed to make visitors feel like they’ve stepped into a tropical oasis – a place where they can slow down and leave their worries behind even if just for 30 minutes.

“Our mascot is a sloth,” Bol said. “And that’s intentional. A sloth’s diet is 99 percent plant-based and they take their time.”

Community engagement is another cornerstone of Coco Pipa. The shop worked with a neighboring nonprofit, Kids Making It, to create their sign and several kids involved in the program have come by to try Coco Pipa’s food. 

“At first some of them would order just a strawberry banana smoothie,” Bol said. “But then we give them a sample of something new, and now they’re coming in and asking for the Ziggy Fresh.”

The Ziggy Fresh is made with coconut water, orange and lime juices, pineapple, mango, avocado, kale, turmeric and moringa.

“It’s about making nutritional options accessible to everyone and changing mindsets,” Fowler added. “We’ve already had people tell us they haven’t been able to eat this way in a very long time.”

Coco Pipa celebrated a ribbon-cutting with the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce on June 20 and held a grand opening celebration last weekend. The business located at 506 Castle St. is open Tuesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
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