Walking down University Avenue, students and community members can once again stop for a healthy snack.
ReFresh Food Co. had its grand opening on Friday. This marks the company’s second rebrand.
Steve Taylor, 35, bought the company with his wife and the support of his parents as investors. He rebranded it and changed the name from “29 82 In The Swamp” to “ReFresh Food Co."
The store is located within walking distance from the University of Florida campus at 1023 W University Ave.
Taylor has been closely involved with the company ever since it first opened as a 3 Natives franchise. He was the general manager until 2017 and helped design the original menu with the previous owner.
Taylor said his parents motivated him to eat healthy as a child and cooked at home often. Once he became an adult with two children of his own, the importance of a healthy diet started to click for him.
“It’s something I’m passionate about. That kind of food, it’s kind of my thing, or more of
a lifestyle,” Taylor said.
Running the company on his own fulfills his dream in the restaurant business.
“To finally do it for ourselves, by ourselves, was kind of the ultimate goal for us,” Taylor said. “It’s a full-family business.”
His father, Stephen Taylor Sr., 70, pointed out his wife helping to cut fruit in the kitchen and his daughter-in-law, Ruby Taylor, working the register. He counted about seven members of their family working during the grand opening.
“It’s been a total joy,” Taylor Sr. said. His favorite parts of the event are
“the creativity, the fun and the enjoyment.”
Some of the changes implemented with the rebrand include new seating, local artwork, quality control and a menu expansion.
Taylor said he removed the sofas from the store and added sizable corduroy bean bags and a bar with charging ports. He wanted people to be able to go hang out at the restaurant and do their homework at the bar area, he said.
Twenty-one-year-old student Lauren Dunn sat with her friend, Lauren Baker, on one of the bean bags to enjoy acai bowls during the grand opening. Dunn said she liked the new bean bags as seating options and that they made the place feel “super comfy and more chill.”
Taylor worked hard to ensure health improvements would be implemented regarding ingredients to the food options. Specifically, he found organic sources for the fruit and made everything almost entirely non-GMO.
He said the biggest changes to the menu includes an addition of tacos and sliders. He added these items so that customers have a wider range of options to choose from if they want something completely different from an acai bowl.
Baker, 20, said that she had been to 29 82 in the Swamp in the past, and likes the new direction of the company.
“It seems like they’re trying to be more environmentally cautious and have a local presence,” Baker said.
Steve Taylor said that he is confident about the future of ReFresh Food Co.
“After our first grand opening, we just had so much positive energy and so much buzz,” he said. “I want to put it back on the radar and bring the positive energy back.”