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Meet a Business: Soul N' Vinegar

Meet a Business is a series featuring the person behind some of your favorite locally-owned businesses.

What is your name?
Michelle Parrish

What's your hometown?
Chicopee, MA

What is your business name?
Soul N' Vinegar

How many years have you owned/managed your business?
2.5

What did you want to be as a child?
Lawyer, but not for any particular reason other than I liked law characters on TV and respected their ability to present and always wanted to be well spoken.

What is the most popular item you sell?
Vegetable spring rolls with chili oil

What local business can you not live without?
Sub Rosa. Their quality and product is outstanding. I am humbled and inspired by their food every time.

In what ways has your business changed since COVID-19?
It is like we have gone back to opening day. Lots of unknowns, minimal staff, lots of sales uncertainty, new marketing strategies, getting used to using new operational tools. We opened as a neighborhood shop where everyone was welcome and found great pride in offering a physical space for people to stop by and are figuring our how to offer hospitality outside our doors. The business is figuring out its reinvention or sorts.

What's the first thing you do every morning to set the tone for your day?
No set thing, it fluctuates. A cup of earl grey tea with collagen and yoga as of late.

What tool, object, or ritual could you not live without in your workday
Meditation/yoga, I have found no greater tool thus far,

How did you come up with the name for your business?
Randomly, years before the business opened, I texted a friend and said, "What sounds better - Soul and Vinegar or Vinegar and Soul?" She said, "Soul and vinegar." When I stepped inside our current location years later I realized that was what "Soul and vinegar" was/had been waiting for.

How did you get the idea for your business?
I thought there was a need for more affordable food options in Church Hill. Inspiration to become an entrepreneur came from Shark Tank. Location and resources came by luck, fate, and timing.

What does the world need more of?
Proactive citizens

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
Invisibility

What's your favorite thing to do in Richmond when you're not in your business?
Eat

What's your hidden talent?
I have lots of talents I think. I take pride in my beer pong abilities.

What was the first concert you ever attended?
Boyz II Men and Montell Jordan

Who do you look up to and why?
Lots of people, everyone has some adversity/challenge/achievement that is worth noticing. I have great respect for female entrepreneurial pioneers and game changers - Martha Stewart, Bethenny Frankel, Oprah, Beyonce, Sara Blakely...

What do you love most about Richmond?
Richmond is where I discovered community and I take great pride in knowing that my customers and neighbors are active participants in their community.

What's the best thing about being a local business owner?
The special club you seem to become a part of. As someone who always longed to "belong" - becoming an entrepreneur has been the best experience in feeling acceptance and appreciating my diversity that I have had. I give all respect to the many entrepreneurs in the city who have helped cultivate that community feeling.

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