By Twanna Futrell
Faith. Sometimes the path we are meant to take is dimly lit. You can barely see your hands and
feet ahead of you, but complete trust and confidence, in the journey God has for you, eventually lands you where you’re meant to be. The birth of The Nourish Spot is a direct product of faith. After retiring in2015, Dawn Kelly was searching for another career and she was certain she wanted to be her own boss this time around. So, it was decided that she would start a business. After months of praying and waiting, Dawn got her answer while watching CNN news. A newscaster announced the opening of Styles P and Jadakiss’ juice bar in Yonkers and she thought “Can I open a juice bar? I could do that!” God was placing answers in the palm of her hand and this path that seemed so uncertain before was beginning to brighten.
So, the question of where the juice bar should be was an easy one to tackle. Dawn lives in southside Jamaica, Queens, and in the past, she had only glanced over the neighborhood on her trips to work. But something told her to take a look around the corner for a possible location, and when she did she couldn’t believe her eyes. Adrenaline rushed through her as she ran to grab her daughter Jade to come see the storefront she stumbled upon. It was all too easy, so easy that she doubted herself. She was hesitant to look up once they had gotten around the corner, fearing that maybe she hadn’t really seen what she thought she saw. Eventually Jade urged her to raise her head and she was relieved to see that the awning of this storefront really read “DK Upholstery.” The spot was hers. I mean her initials were even on it, all she had to do was claim it. And that is exactly what she did. Digging Deeper
As black women, Dawn and Jade were underestimated by many of the men they did business with. The realtor, for instance, was shocked to see Dawn pull out a check, worth three months of rent, when she came to sign the lease. During their first meeting, he informed her of the cost thinking it’d slow her process, but she was fully prepared. Shortly after, they began working on the property and had decided to handle some plumbing issues themselves rather than hiring a plumber. The men at the local hardware store were just as skeptical, jokingly asking, “Where’s your plumber?” But Dawn and Jade earned their respect as they got to work without hesitation. It’s rare to see women starting businesses on their own, even more so that they were eager to put in the mental and manual labor required to get it up and running. That is why this black owned business is a gem for those that live in southside Jamaica, Queens. I asked Dawn and Jade why they personally feel it’s so important to have a juice bar in southside. Their reply was simple, “We don’t have anything, we don’t own anything. Putting a black business in a black community is an opportunity to show other black people that they could open a business as well.” Representation factors into self-esteem, when we see our people doing things that haven’t been done before our goals become tangible. Dawn and Jade are completely aware of this and that’s why they make a huge effort to connect with the community on a personal level. Dawn explained to me, “We picked the name nourish for a reason. Not only to nourish your body but your mind and soul as well. "I WANT THIS TO BE A COMMUNITY HAVEN." When customers come in here I introduce them. Relationships and staying connected with each other is important.” So, Dawn and Jade are feeding the community in several ways. The delicious soups, salads and drinks on the menu are served with a side of meaningful conversations and new friendships. They even have an Instagram account that they use as another way to connect with their customers. They post pictures of those that come in to dine as a token of appreciation, making the experience even more special.
Goals for 2018
Social media isn’t just for the customers, it’s beneficial for increasing business as well. Dawn and Jade are using their platform online to market their juice bar to people outside of the neighborhood. When I asked if they had any goals for the new year Dawn responded, “Our goals are just to increase traffic and build a good captive audience and grow! I would like to see these in every hood – black neighborhoods.” It’s important for all of us to spread the word because we simply don’t have access to many healthy food options in our communities. In fact, Dawn even informed me that their juice bar is the only one on Guy R. Brewer from Rockaway Turnpike to Jamaica avenue. The boulevard is lined with nothing but greasy food and liquor stores. It’s our job to let others know that we finally have fresh food available nearby. So, stop by The Nourish Spot and bring a friend or two. Tell them MLNNNYC sent you!