Dawn Kelly of The Nourish Spot in Jamaica
Dawn Kelly has been the owner of The Nourish Spot located in Jamaica since 2017 and has been promoting healthy living through her small business ever since.
Kelly was inspired to open The Nourish Spot when she lost her job in 2015.
“I was home crying for a while because I had never in my life failed,” said Kelly. “I went to school early, skipped the 3rd grade, went to college when I was 16 years old, and I graduated from Howard University. I’ve worked my whole life.”
Kelly’s business promotes healthy living through smoothies, salads, wraps, and many more other options.
“I was on my own health journey, I walked 10,000 steps everyday, and drank lots of water,” added Kelly. “I was replacing bagels and cream cheese with smoothies because as a New Yorker I love my bagels and cream cheese.”
The one thing that makes her store unique is that all her food and drink options are customizable “unlike Panera.” Not only does Kelly serve the community with healthy options but her own employees are part of other programs like Summer Youth Employment (SYEP) and many other non-profits. One of her employees, Denzel, was an intern at SYEP from the Culinary Program and Kelly after hired him herself.
“I usually hire these young adults and pay them a fair wage after they finish their internships if they show that they’re honest, passionate about food, and hospitality,” said Kelly. “One thing I am proud of is that in 2020 the City had a Restaurant Relief Program that helped small businesses pay their employees $20 an hour for a few weeks and I got picked.
“They did it again for this year and I was picked again so my employees will be able to get $20 an hour for a few weeks again”
Just recently Queens Borough President Donovan Richards visited The Nourish Spot as part of the “Queens Shop Small” initiative to highlight small businesses in underserved communities. Kelly was granted a citation recognizing what she does as a local small business to uplift the surrounding community, from hiring local young people to opening the shop as a true community space and more.