We had the good fortune of connecting with Zach Johnston and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Zach, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
For me, I was always going to be an entrepreneur. I was raised by a pair of “do it yourself” parents and step-parents. The freedom to make my own decisions paired with the sink or swim nature of owning a business was something that chose me. I am far too neurotic to work for anyone but myself. I get obsessed with chasing perfection, and being able to make decisions to strive towards that goal without permission from a boss suits me well. 

What should our readers know about your business?
The thing that sets The Spice Guy apart from other brands in our industry is dedication to quality over quantity. We make orders 3 times a week to keep our inventory as fresh as possible. It would be so much easier to buy pallets and containers of spices for us but we think our dedication to keeping an ever-turning inventory really sets the bar for dry flavor brands across the country. The second most important thing we do from a business standpoint is treat our team with the respect, loyalty and care that they give to the company. We’re not your typical small business, we operate essentially 4 separate companies under 1 roof. The team has adapted to everything that I can throw at them, I’m not sure they always love the process but they have come to trust in it.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The best time ever? That’s easy. From the airport you jam straight to The Stanley so that you can get that hungry traveler fed. Denver Biscuit Co. is always a good choice (shout out to The Franklin). From there, you track down Justin Brunson of River Bear American Meats, wherever he might be that day. Hands down, one of the most fun guys in all of Denver. After your face hurts from laughing and eating with him, you head to Table 6 for dinner from Chef Aniedra Nichols and wine from the nicest guy ever – Aaron Forman. After that, it’s off to the Green Russel for some fancy cocktails from Chef Frank Bonnano, make a quick pit stop at Appaloosa for great live music and awesome snacks and service. Finally, blast down to see one of the best bartenders in the World- Steven Waters at his underground speak easy – Run For The Roses. Next, we’re off to Larimer Lounge to watch Denver’s best band …And The Black Feathers, and it all ends with a late night bite from Illegal Pete’s. We’ll sleep when we’re dead because we have to head to Breckenridge early in the morning.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Honestly, I learned a lot of the business the hard way, but I would be remiss not to mention David Tenenbaum from Rocky Mountain Spice Co. He was the person that I first began purchasing from and he told me the first time we spoke, “I don’t think you’re ever going to be able to make money doing it this way.” I took that as a bit of a challenge and quickly grew The Spice Guy into one of his largest, biggest pain in the ass, customers for his business. He has spent hours, mentoring, advising, lending employees, and talking me off ledges over the years. He never owed me anything but his advice has made a world of difference in my business. Another person that needs to be in the spotlight is Danny Ke. Danny is now an equity holder and the COO of The Spice Guy, he took a chance on me when this business was a baby. I might have had 30 clients back when I convinced Danny to come on this wild ride with me. Since then, because of his hard work, culinary expertise and friendship we have grown the brand into a 7-figure nationally acclaimed business.

Website: www.thespiceguyco.com
Instagram: @thespiceguyco
Facebook: @thespiceguyco

Image Credits
Denver Life Magazine

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutDenver is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.