Dawn Kelly, the founder and owner of the all-natural juice bar and salad joint The Nourish Spot, beat out over one million entrepreneurs throughout New York to become the Microbusiness Person of the Year for 2019.
In 2014, Kelly started juicing out of a fear of becoming obese and because she wanted to set a good example for her kids’ health. After having her corporate job eliminated the following year, she decided to turn her new passion into a business, which had its grand opening on Sept. 9, 2017.
“I’ll tell you honestly, I’ve been an employee my whole life so I didn’t really know if owning a business was something that I could do,” said Kelly on Wednesday at her store in Jamaica. “I took a giant leap of faith.”
Handing out the award was Beth Goldberg, the director of the New York Small Business Administration District Office.
“There are 1.6 million small businesses in this district alone,” said Goldberg. “So she is one in a million.”
For business owners to qualify for the Microbusiness award their firm had to have been open for a year and have five employees or fewer, according to Goldberg.
“It is such an accomplishment to have employees at such an early stage of your business,” said Goldberg. “I see a lot of things in her future such as franchise opportunities.”
Nadi Ghaness, a business owner of an insurance company and customer at The Nourish Spot, which is located at 107-05 Guy Brewer Blvd., felt that Kelly truly deserved the award.
“My heart gets bright when I see new businesses coming up,” said Ghaness a South Jamaica resident. “People can stop by and have a healthy snack.”
In 2018, Public Health Solutions, one of the largest public health non-profits in New York City called Jamaica, Corona and Jackson Heights food swamps.
After examining 3,661 sites across the three neighborhoods in 2014, the research concluded that there were more fast food establishments and corner stores with junk food than supermarkets that provided fresh food in those areas. For every supermarket, there were six fast food restaurants or corner stores.
Kisha Barton, a business partner of Kelly’s in a public relations business, Global Vision Group International, was also proud of her friend.
“I am humbled that people are recognizing and acknowledging the work has done,” said Barton. “She’s not only a staple in the community, but she is also from the community. I also grew up in South Jamaica, Queens and it is great to see an establishment like The Nourish Spot. Growing up I didn’t have access to that over here. You had to go on a bus or get in car and travel to have fresh food in the community. Not only does she provide fresh food, but she also provides employment opportunities.”
In 2018, Kelly was certified as an Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise and a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, which will allow her to expand her business at airports affiliated with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
“We are so proud of Dawn and salute her,” said Shurn Anderson, the Deputy Director of Economic Development for the Queens Borough President.