In the Hawaiian language, Ohana translates to “family” and when it comes to opening new locations, Island Fin Poké Co. is all about creating an Ohana-like environment for the various market segments it serves. Franchisee owners, Jodi and Frank Michienzi, have taken their location at The Villages in Florida to the next level of Ohana. At the time of their opening in 2021, Jodi and Frank’s Island Fin store, located at 2752 Brownwood Blvd, was the most successful opening to date, demonstrating how their positive actions and consistent involvement in The Villages’ community has led them to great success and recognition.
According to Mark Setterington, CEO and founder of Island Fin Poké Co., The Villages location is one of the most successful franchises out of the current 26 operating locations. “Jodi and Frank have taken a different approach in their community and have fully immersed themselves in it– which led them into even more growth,” says Setterington. “The community really embraced our food and our concept as a whole and loved that it was owned and operated by Jodi and Frank, who live in The Villages.”
Known for its Hawaiian-style, build-your-own poké bowls that are more than just a bowl, the brand considers itself a lifestyle and built on family values. This concept is what essentially inspired Jodi and Frank to own their Island Fin location and immediately became a part of the Island Fin Ohana.
“When we decided to buy Island Fin, we had no experience at all,” Jodi says. “The support from day one and guidance from the Island Fin Poké Co. team was integral to our success and knowledge beginning a franchise. From before we even opened, the personalized training and the way the Island Fin team supported us, stood behind us, and has always been there for us has really helped us embody the Ohana Way in our community.”
The Michienzis immediately began looking for ways to become involved and support their community, in line with the mission and values of the entire Island Fin Poké Co. brand. Since their opening, the couple has donated over 607 pounds of food to the local food bank as well as to local schools in The Villages.
On Christmas Day, which averages around 70 degrees in Central Florida at that time of year, the couple decided to spread cheer by visiting five local fire stations, delivering Dole Soft Serve to the first responders on duty to brighten their holiday. They shared with a local newspaper that their favorite part of the day was hearing the laughter as they left each location. They also hosted a t-shirt sale fundraiser, which raised $1,000 for the Tunnel to Towers Foundation for deserving Veterans.
“We are one with our community,” Jodi adds. “Every day, every hour, we participate in each and every event which The Villages puts on [in our community]. We owe it to them, and we wouldn’t be here without their support.”
The couple plans on continuing to give back to The Villages community whenever they can, and they hope they can help support even more organizations in the future.