NOMZ: Q&A with Kassandra Morrison
What is the background story of your business? When/how was it created?
We’ve been open for about two years. Sam, my partner, who makes all of our menus used to work for Mustard Seed. I used to own a t- shirt company, and inside of the Northside Marketplace with like a small shop in the back and I saw that there is no restaurant in the marketplace. People would come in all the time for lunch and they had nowhere to go.
Where does the name come from?
We use it as a slang term all the time and it means to just go grab food. It was actually the first name we came up with when we were trying to decide what to call the restaurant and it just stuck.
How has your business experienced growth?/How do you expect to see growth?
When we initially opened, we had a really great grand opening and people were super impressed with the food. Over the past couple years, we went from having one person on staff to now having seven between all of our businesses. So I would say that growth has probably come just from constantly evolving our product and the quality of products as we do seasonal menu changes. We’re always updating and looking to be inspired by new things and offer new items on the menu. We do social media marketing, so that’s been very successful for us.
We now have The Treatery, which is a rolled ice cream shop and we just recently purchased the bar and converted it into a cocktail coffee bar. I see in the next year we will really just double down at the marketplace and focus on making everything really come together for a strong future. There is potential for a bigger location so we can do more for NOMZ. A future goal is to make our own brands of meats and cheeses to bring in more of a grocery aspect.
How has the pandemic impacted your business?
Well, when it first happened, it was very scary for us. Our sales dropped by 50 percent immediately. And we had just bought the ice cream shop a few months prior and it’s rolled ice cream, so people want to come in and experience it. It’s not a take-home kind of product.
We had to lay off a lot of our staff and try to make it as much as we could. We ended up closing for two months just to try to manage the damage that we were experiencing at the time. After they allowed restaurants to have dining again, we took our time to really assess the situation and how we can make the best of it. When we reopened this summer, our sales were triple what they were last summer. So, it was hard at first, but we really took our time and it’s worked out for us.
What resources have you utilized?
The Greater Akron Chamber provided us with a grant that allowed us to reopen. That was a huge benefit. Otherwise, I think we would have spent all of our personal savings reopen. We would have had no cushion whatsoever to reopen and it would have been very bad. We plan to apply to more rounds of grants.
How has the Greater Akron region played a role in the evolution of your company/career?
I would say that Akron as a whole is a very supportive community. There are many
customers that will come in on a really slow day and will say they want us to be so much busier. They say they are going to tell their friends about us because we’re great. The Downtown Akron Partnership has been such a huge help in so many ways. From connections, meeting new people, passing us down for catering orders. During COVID-19, they gave us plexi-glass barriers and signage. Akron as a whole, is just a very supportive community that you might not get in a bigger city.
Do you have any advice for growing a business in Akron?
My advice would be patience. We used to work 80 hour work weeks when we first
started. Keep your eye on what you want, be vigilant, and be persistent.
How can someone find you?
NOMZ on Facebook
@nomzeatz on Instagram