Entrepreneur Steven Smith was tired of researching ingredients and running circles around the grocery store aisles as a plant-based eater and decided that he’d take it upon himself to help plant-based shoppers find options more easily. In 2018, Smith opened his flagship grocery store, Vegan Fine Foods, in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, to simplify shopping on a plant-based diet and ease the stress of many shoppers.

Shopping for vegan substitutes and plant-based ingredients can be tricky when only a select number of stores offer an ample assortment, and even then some products can sneak in animal-derived ingredients. Vegan Fine Foods vets the products before they enter the store, and creates a space where plant-based shoppers can browse confidently, knowing that every item on the shelves will fit their diet's needs. Smith’s success at his Ft. Lauderdale location has encouraged him to branch out, and now he looks to have a Vegan Fine Foods root itself in every major U.S. city by 2024.

Vegan Fine Foods Looks to Expand to Every Major US City by 2024

Smith and Vegan Fine Foods' parent company–Vegan Fine Brands, Inc.–began hosting equity crowdfunding through the platform StartEngine, and has already raised more than $115,000 to help stock the shelves with 100% vegan products nationwide. This crowdfunding comes after the brand's extremely successful fundraising event in 2019 where the Black-owned company raised 1.4 million dollars to enhance VFF's performance and outreach. Smith dreams that support and funding will help him found a universal one-stop-shop for plant-based consumers, and bring healthy options to neighborhoods that may be food deserts or food swamps.

VFF Seeks to Give Healthy Options to Underserved Communities

“I spent years living in food deserts with little to no accessibility to nutrient-dense foods and I see how damaging that can be for underserved communities,” founder Steven Smith said. “I’m competitive and driven and my extensive business background has given me the tools and connection to see this through. My commitment to increasing across to quality plant-based products for everyone deepens my conviction.”

Soon shoppers in Atlanta, Ga, Washington, D.C., and Richmond, Virginia will be able to roam the aisles of a local Vegan Fine Foods. The company has already confirmed franchise partners in these cities and plan to move towards prospective locations like Toronto, New York City, and Los Angeles. Smith also has his eyes set on Miami, which would add a second store to Southern Florida.

In the last two years, Vegan Fine Foods has exploded into Vegan Fine Café, where customers can sit down for a meal and drink, and Vegan Fine Body, which offers 100% vegan body care products. The original store, spanning a whopping 5000 square feet, plans to keep stretching its arms across the country, and the internet. Anyone can support the flagship location and the Vegan Fine Brands at the recently launched e-commerce stores, veganfinefood.com and veganfinebody.com.