To borrow a slogan from a local auto dealer, the "last of the little guys" also covers a handful of neighborly business concerns trying to sustain their "mom-and-pop" shops in the midst of encroachment by American franchises.

A bookstore here, a grocery there and a pharmacy in-between all struggle to survive the hefty-pocketed rivals - but a comfy, sunshine-filled juicery stands the test of time as competition proliferates throughout the city.Juice Etc., a seven-year veteran of the squeezing business, opened its doors when juicers escaped from strictly healthy-food status and garnered attention from anyone in town. It was a time when wheat grass cured everything that ailed, and the gurus of nutrition announced that juice-only fasts could produce superior physical results.

It was a risky time to promote juice as the perfect antidote for Joe Q. Public and his family. Nevertheless, Juice Etc. stood by its marketing plan and peddled concoctions.

There must be something to this juice philosophy that sustains longevity, as the seven years proved plentiful for local proprietors.

The work they perform bears a touch of magic as they create flavorful and refreshing combinations. Fresh fruit and vegetable juice concoctions, not from concentrates ($1.75 for 10 ounces to $4.50 for a quart), include a personalized choice of ingredients like strawberries, cranberries or pineapple, to cucumbers, green peppers, beets or carrots. Suggested combos include the Ginger Rogers - a blend of carrots, apple and ginger; the Garden Salad - a five-vegetable mix; or the Parsley Canyon - a merger of carrot, apple and parsley.

From the blender works, you get the fruit- and juice-based smoothies ($2.95). The most popular groupings are the Bahama Mama, a mix of raspberry, peach, orange juices coupled with Hawaiian sherbet, and the Tropical Delight, an assembly of strawberry, pineapple, peach, banana, apple and vanilla yogurt. In addition to sherbet and yogurt blenders, tofu is now available, creating a creamier smoothie with protein plus, and the flavors of the juices. A list of trendy supplements like ginseng, spirulina and bee pollen are available at 35 each.

To complement the juice and smoothie selections, a variety of basic sandwiches on Curtell's sourdough, wheat and rye bread or bagels is available.

Crispy green salads, punchy pasta combinations and a selected soup of the day complete the luncheon-style fare at this neighborly stop that continues to draw customers, despite the influx of franchised competitors in the squeez-ing business.