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Celebrating Six Years of Zelos: A Journey of Passion, Growth, and Good Food

4 min read

Zelos artisanal products at Cincinnati's farmer's market

It's hard to believe that it's already been six years since I embarked on this incredible journey with Zelos in 2018. What began as a passion project fueled by a love for good food, both mine and that of many Greeks, has blossomed into something beyond my wildest dreams. As I reflect on the past six years, I'm filled with gratitude for the challenges, the triumphs, the memories, the people, and the stories that have enriched my life through this Zelos adventure.

Last year on our 5th anniversary, I shared my top 5 learnings from being an entrepreneur. This year I wanted to keep it fun and share my 6 favorite moments (not in any order!!) from these 6 years of Zelos Life. Enjoy this look back...and thank you for having been a part of it!

1. Our first farmer’s market in Cincinnati

Zelos first farmers market in cincinnati

In 2018, Zelos took its first steps into the world at a farmer’s market in Cincinnati, where I was living at the time. I vividly remember the excitement and nerves as my daughter and I set up our stall, armed with delicious Greek products and a desire to share our love for them with others. That day marked the beginning of countless meaningful connections with people eager to explore new flavors and curious about the stories behind them. There's something truly magical about witnessing someone's first taste of a product you hold dear to your heart, and for these people’s warm reactions and comments I am always thankful.


2. Sponsoring sports tournaments in Chios

Zelos waterpolo game

I've really enjoyed involving my family & friends on our Zelos journey, and not just to work but also to play! Twice while vacationing on our beloved Chios island, we sponsored sports tournaments - soccer one year and water polo another. Supporting these events not only helped make more people aware of our new business, especially the many Greek-Americans on the island, but it also brought people together in a healthy and fun way...just like good food does!


3. Meeting our amazing Artisans in Greece

We had many memorable encounters with our Artisans in Greece, sometimes in a good restaurant, like this lunch with Pauline and Sakis from Tragano Greek Organics, sometimes at their production sites, like our visit to Agrozimi's spotless factory. Building relationships with local producers who pour their heart and soul into their craft has been more rewarding than I ever imagined. My respect deepened for these fierce entrepreneurs, who often started their businesses at the height of Greece's terrible financial crisis, and our meetings cemented my willingness to help them discover their American audience. Our Artisans have broadened my appreciation for Greek culinary traditions and also reinforced the importance of fostering sustainable and ethical partnerships in an extremely competitive food industry.


4. Experimenting at home during the pandemic

No knead bread with peppers

The COVID-19 pandemic presented unforeseen challenges, but it also sparked moments of innovation and creativity. When my daughter came back home from college, we navigated together through uncertain times and found solace in experimenting with new recipes and products. It was a period of self-discovery and adaptation, and I'm grateful for the opportunity it provided to reconnect with family and the essence of Zelos' philosophy of love through food. My favorite recipes from those days are Irini’s banana-oatmeal cookies with Chios mandarin and the many ways we experimented with making bread


5. The power of community during uncertain times

As the pandemic introduced more people to online shopping, it grew and strengthened our Zelos community, with friends new and old sharing their own stories and recipes. It's truly heartwarming to see how food can serve as a catalyst for connection and creativity, especially during challenging times. We discovered that we had sent our artisanal products to all 50 states, allowing Americans everywhere to discover Greek cuisine beyond the clichés. We were touched at the feel-good stories of our gift boxes making up for missed weddings and anniversaries, donations bringing Greek love through food to restaurant workers, food banks, even anesthesiologists at Yale.  One of my favorite recipes from that time is Juan's Colombian/Greek minestrone soup, which took an Italian tradition to a fun fusion level - a real testament to the global world we live in!


6. Working together, from Greece

Zelos Team in Chios

One of the most memorable aspects of running Zelos has been the privilege of collaborating with my team in Greece. What better backdrop for brainstorming and strategizing than the serene beauty of Chios' citrus orchards or a quiet beach on Chios' northern shores? It was always a good reminder of the power of food to transcend boundaries and bring people together.

As I reflect on the past six years, I am filled with immense gratitude for the journey that Zelos has taken me on. It's been a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows, but through it all, the love for good food has remained constant. Zelos is more than just a business; it's a testament to the power of passion, perseverance, and community.

Looking ahead, I am excited about the future possibilities that lie ahead for Zelos. We will continue to uphold our commitment to sourcing the finest Greek products, sharing their stories, and celebrating the rich tapestry of Greek cuisine with zeal. With each passing year, we grow stronger, wiser, and more inspired to spread the joy of Greek food to every corner of the globe.

To everyone who has been a part of our journey – our customers, suppliers, partners, and supporters – thank you for your unwavering belief in Zelos. Here's to many more years of delicious discoveries, shared experiences, and moments of culinary bliss. Together, let's continue to savor the flavors of Greece and create lasting memories around the table.

Cheers to six years of Zelos, and to many more to come!

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