‘GOOD VIBES ONLY’ AT FOY SUPERFOODS
Business View – May 2021 / Small Business of the Month
FOY Superfoods owners Liz and John Smith showcase some of the healthy items on the menu at its downtown location.
For Liz and John Smith, the phrase “fresh, fast food” is a concept worth passion and investment. As the owners of two FOY Superfoods cafes, one downtown and one in west Mobile, the Smiths are dedicated to offering healthy, delicious foods and great service for dine-in and carryout customers. FOY is an acronym for Fountain of Youth.
The couple’s dedication to serving up “good vibes only” is one of the many reasons FOY Superfoods is the Mobile Area Chamber’s Small Business of the Month. The menu offers a rainbow of affordable “scratch-made food,” complete with fresh-pressed juices, smoothies, energy bowls and hearty sandwiches, tacos and quesadillas.
While pursuing a master’s degree at Spring Hill College, Liz focused on leadership and ethics, which she said has helped her in hiring and supporting FOY’s 12 employees. She said the “good vibes only” mantra starts with those employees and trickles down to customers, who are the ultimate barometers of the company’s success. That crew cohesion and buy-in has minimized turnover and empowered employees to offer suggestions and honest feedback.
“I stress to them that they are the backbone of this business, and we wouldn’t succeed without them,” she said. “I want everyone to be happy and for me to sense where each employee does the best.”
Community-driven wellness is more a necessity than a goal for Liz, who lived in Texas for a decade before moving to Mobile with John, a native of the area. In larger cities like Dallas and Atlanta, they found several businesses like FOY, indicating a larger attitude toward better health and fresh recipes.
In Mobile, the couple didn’t see anything similar to those concepts, so they created a paleo meal delivery service called Balance, which did well with area gyms, yoga studios and other like-minded businesses. Balance gave the Smiths the confidence to open a brick-and-mortar cafe, which is how FOY Superfoods became a staple in downtown Mobile.
Just over a year ago, before the limitations and shutdowns of the coronavirus pandemic, they added a second location in west Mobile. Despite challenges, Smith said she’s “not ready to give up on this dream yet,” and continues to be committed to pushing the envelope of FOY’s mission. That includes developing a retail line of the cafe’s six signature sauces, to be sold at area grocers. It’s a natural point of growth for the couple, who started out offering delivery-only options, grew into physical locations and are now offering products for sale at other retailers.
To survive requires flexibility and innovation, points Liz said were driven home during the recent Roadmap for Growth program she completed through the Chamber. The program not only offered her new ideas and “true friends,” but also a place to connect with other business owners dealing with similar challenges.
“It was an awesome opportunity,” she said. “And in the end, it was like therapy.”
COMPANY NAME: FOY Superfoods
LOCATIONS: Downtown, 119 Dauphin St.
OWNERS: Liz and John Smith
LENGTH OF CHAMBER MEMBERSHIP: 2 years
About the Mobile Chamber
The Mobile Chamber is a private business organization with more than 1,700 members and the economic developer for the City of Mobile and Mobile County. The Mobile Chamber’s focus is to provide members with networking, marketing and professional development opportunities, expand jobs in the area, develop the local workforce, advocate legislative priorities and offer resources to help small businesses grow. Additional information is on the Chamber’s website, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.