We had the good fortune of connecting with Dana Gardner and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dana, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Having worked in healthcare for nearly 15 years, I encountered so many patients and clients with conditions that were related to poor nutrition due to inaccessible or decision making based on misinformation.. Too many times patients were taking advice or supplements from those with no nutritional or medical background. I wanted to change that, I wanted people to have something from someone who not only came from a similar background but also understood the love of food. So my first business idea was a mobile market that would go into underserved neighbors to help them make more informed decisions, hence the name Jax Fresh Mobile Market. But then COVID hit, and like so many other small businesses I had to pivot my business plan.
During the height of the pandemic, so many people were calling inquiring about what they could take to help boost their immunity and that is when I knew that I had to create something helpful for the community. Taking it back to nature and our roots, I created the herbal loose leaf tea line – “Essential-i-Tea”. The tea line met all of my company’s goals, 1) promote health 2) taste good and 3) no gimmicks!
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Jax Fresh Mobile Market’s goal is to provide innovative and honest products and education to the community. With out first line of wellness herbal loose leaf teas, which were created to provide an all natural alternative to supplements and traditional medicine. Our teas are a proactive health regimen. What sets us apart from others is the that our company is owned by a black registered dietitian with multiple degrees who is as comfortable in the boardroom as she is in the corner grocery store educating the community about health and wellness.
Getting started wasn’t the hard part, the hardest part has been educating people on what is the difference between a dietitian versus a health coach and the value a dietitian may bring and the products that they can provide. I’ve learned to meet people where they are and also that my products and style of education are not going to be for everyone. Not every person will be my customer and that was probably the hardest part is realizing that no matter how much I believe in my product and know how beneficial it can be to the masses, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea (pun intended).
I am most excited about the the connections with the community other small businesses and the future of the business to honest. I am so proud that while only being in business for 8 months, the tea products can be found in three local cafes and stores around the city of Jacksonville (The Cookbook, Vegan Cafe Jax and 1Bridge Connect located in the Regency Square Mall). This was all done organically and taking the risks to personally connect with business owners whose mission fit the company’s values.
I am also excited to tell the world about nutrition in a fun and honest way. I got into business to fill the void of the lack of honest and gimmick free nutritional information and products present on the market created by a dietitian. Just look around the stores, do you see products created by a dietitian? No, and our goal is to change that quickly by partnering with local and national brands.
I want the world to know that even though the name of the company includes the nickname for Jacksonville, this brand will become a global brand, we will expand our product offerings beyond herbal teas, it will inspire of dietitians of colors to step outside of the box to create health items, it will always remain true to the goals the mission of providing innovative and honest products and lastly it will leave a legacy for generations to come.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We are definitely starting out at my place for a cup of my company’s Tummy Time Tea to help prep the tummy for the good eats and libations.
But Monday we would go to 904 Tacos in Riverside for lunch and then XO later that evening for Martini Mondays,
Tuesday we are going to head to Town Center to shop and eat at Bazille located in Nordstrom’s.
On Wednesday, we would head to the Ritz Carlton for a nice spa and pool day.
On Thursday, the city is looking towards the weekend so I would take them to River & Post to enjoy the rooftop views, vibes and happy hour then head to Aroma’s to check out the vibe there.
Friday we would head to St. Augustine for the San Sebastian winery tour then later that evening head to Whispers which is located downtown.
Saturday we BRUNCH!! Barrique in Avondale has an awesome brunch. After a quick nap (because adults need naps too) we head to the Daq Shack.
Sunday – We are resting and drinking another cup of Tummy Time Tea to help digest the week of good eats :).
Jacksonville is so eclectic that wherever you go you are going to have a good time, especially if you are with a great group of friends. I tend to frequent 5 Points, Avondale, downtown and San Marco area because the vibe is really laidback and free-spirited. The weather is typically good here so I love a rooftop restaurant or a place where you can appreciate the Jacksonville’s skyline and waterfronts.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I dedicate my shoutout to my dad – David Sr.- who is no longer on this earth physically but his spirit continues to guide my family and me. His entrepreneurial spirit and his thirst for continued knowledge and learning was ingrained in his children. Also, my mom – Deborah -whose resilience is to be commended and whose soft supportive nature has covered her children, two brothers – Daryn and David Jr. whom have been supportive since the day I entered this world, my aunts – Sharron and Corine, my forever best friends – TaWanna and Kesha -who have not only had my back but my front at all times, “The Crew” – Melissa, Erica, Joni and Tia – who are the most well-rounded and supportive group of girlfriends that keep the group chat filled with inspiration, co-workers who have become family – Tanya, Joenetta, Rebekah, Ashley, Beverly and Gerrolynn, My Godfamily – The Bells, and of course my Sorors of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Also, to those who send me those encouraging text and calls right when I need them – Vivian, Tony, Charenee, Candace, Dorian, Venus, Tameika, Toni, Shantel, Art, Ashley, Tyeisha, Chris, Quenneth, Vamecia, and Garry. You all each share in a part of my dreams becoming a reality.
Facebook: Jax Fresh Mobile Market