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Meet Joe Nedza of Nedza’s in Athens

Today we’d like to introduce you to Joe Nedza.

Joe, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I needed to make money and I wanted my company to gain exposure, so I had to be creative in the quickest and best way to do that. I knew the head coach of a swim team near where I was living and asked him if I could sell my waffles at the meets. It sounds ridiculous when you think that 8-16 years old would want to eat waffles with ice cream before they race in a swim meet but they loved it.

I moved to Athens soon after I began selling in Alpharetta because I was attending UGA and I wanted to grow my business there. The biggest issue with Athens that I had was regulation. Regulations have led to what seems like a mass Exodus from the mobile food businesses from Athens. The city made it incredibly difficult to get permits and there aren’t many commissary kitchens. While its difficult to get permits to sell, it’s even more difficult to find places to sell. You cannot simply set up a food cart on the street downtown and begin selling.

Because of the restrictions and regulations, I was forced to find creative ways to get my product into the market. I knew that the owner of a successful donut shop was in one of my classes, so I met with him and convinced him to let me sell my waffles at his store on certain days. Thankfully, I was able to market my product well enough to create a form of demand. Once the demand was created, more restaurants and private businesses reached out to me to have me come sell my waffles on their premises.

One thing that I believe separates us from other businesses, however, is the way that we treat customers. My goal for my business is to make everyones day better. The one thing that we do that helps facilitate my goal is the compliments that we put on each container. So, if someone comes up to the place we are selling and orders a waffle, I will take down their name and order and proceed to write something about them that will make them smile. What I want from each interaction is to make the other person feel loved. If making them feel loved is telling them that they have a killer style, I will write it. If I need to write a short novel to describe in detail what I think is great about that person, I will do it.

It takes very little effort and time to make a persons day. I have the ability to make someone feel loved in the few seconds I get to interact with them and I love that opportunity.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Not at all. It has been filled with tremendous ups and downs. I started my business in college, which can be risky. All of my friends and class mates decided to get high paying jobs right out of school and they did that. I believe that comparison is the thief of joy and I have allowed other peoples lives to take some of the joy of mine. While they’re getting 50k+ per year plus benefits starting out of college, I’m trying to make sure my business is a success and taking as little as possible. That can absolutely get to your head when you’re starting a business. Fortunately, I have wise counsel around me that helps me push forward.

Also, being in Athens can be tough because it is seasonal. The best months for ice cream are in the summer. Unfortunately, a majority of this town leaves during the summer. Finding ways to stay busy in those months can be challenging. Thankfully, those challenges push me to be more creative in what I am selling.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Nedza’s – what should we know?
Nedza’s specializes in making crazy food. I grew up fascinated with pretty food and giant portions. I believe that we are known for our service and how we love people and put smiles on their face. One thing that sets us apart from other companies is the personalized compliments we put on each container. I love lifting others up and this is one of my favorite ways to do it.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
All of my friends and family. My family has always believed that I can do anything I wanted because I am persistent and determined. I believe that that instilled in me the desire to be different and think outside of the box. All of the people in Athens deserve credit because I absolutely would not have a business without them. This amazing city and its people keep me going.

Pricing:

  • The prices range from $5-15.
  • Anything over $10 is difficult to eat alone

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
@nedzaeats

Getting in touch: VoyageATL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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