Racking in more than $1.2 million in sales, Florida businessman Steven Smith is changing the game of healthy eating in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Smith’s business, Vegan Fine Foods, has people talking about its offered services, including a grocery store and market, café and health and beauty department.  

According to the South Florida Times, the Black-owned vegan store has only been in operation since 2018 but has garnered more than 35,000 customers, most of whom are not vegan. The supermarket provides a wide array of options for shoppers with more than 4,000 stocked products on its shelves. 

“It’s an ambitious goal because we’ve only been in business for 17 months. It’s been amazing,” Smith said.

The former corporate engineer said franchising options are now in the works after customers quickly began asking him about opening a Vegan Fine Foods store in their cities. Smith’s motivation to launch Vegan Fine Foods began as a personal journey to improve the status of his health after completing his Ph.D. 

“I spent seven years in graduate school and eating fast foods and Dunkin Donuts! I gained so much weight and I felt terrible,” he recalled. “I didn’t know much about being a vegan but I knew I had to change my diet.”

Like many people in minority communities, Smith’s family health history included illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. 

Pouring all of his savings into the business, Smith said he hopes to combat these generational diseases head-on by helping the public have access to better eating options. 

“We’re giving them a chance to open their minds. It’s a win-win for us, our health and a more sustainable way to live for people in our community.”