Kenny graduated from Florida Christian and Miami Dade Community College while Ody graduated from St. Brendan and Nova University.
Ody was a schoolteacher with a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education who developed a talent for cake decorating. After a while, she found her part time cake business with her husband brought in more money than her job and the idea for opening a store developed. Kenny credits Ody with the idea of a salad restaurant.
Ody figured the cake business, which they had worked for 11-12 years, would not give them time in the future to enjoy life’s rewards, which proved to be a wise decision.The day they got a lease for their first store for Giardino Gourmet Salads in Coral Gables, Kenny got a call, as if by divine intervention, and was hired as a firefighter. This helped them survive financially the first year.
With little money for marketing, they used what they had to support various charitable events, which also served to achieve their faith-based mission. That plus hard work and word of mouth certainly was a godsend and has reaped great rewards.With several franchises now, Kenny shares how he and Ody had no clue how to start a business and learned on the fly.
He admits he read Franchising for Dummies, a book I suspect Kenny could now write and improve upon. He said it really turned out to be common sense. You serve a great fresh product, with amazing customer service, consistently and you get a great thing going.The couple’s passion for giving back and mentoring others is something that permeates their business philosophy. Coming from humble beginnings, they serve as amazing role models for others who were not handed a silver spoon but who are not afraid of hard work and taking on a challenge to improve their circumstances and achieve their dreams.
Giving back is something that they were exposed to early on in high school through a variety of clubs, so it is no wonder they continue to donate their time, talent and treasure as adults helping and becoming involved in such organizations as Honey Shine, Amigos for Kids, Kiwanis of Little Havana, Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, Zo’s Summer Groove, UM Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, Kids Hope United, Easter Seals, Women’s Fund, Arroz Con Mango-La Liga Contra el Cancer, His House, Susan J Komen Cancer Foundation, and Caring Chef for Kids.Kenny and Ody’s generous spirit is one that their daughter Rebekah, 8, has inherited big time. At this tender age, already she has begun creating a non-profit “Living for Giving” and, while not yet incorporated, has like her parents begun helping others.