Q&A: Veg’n Out in Lake Nona
An interview with Ashley Torres, local owner of Veg’n Out, now open in Pixon along Lake Nona Boulevard
A wife, mother and businesswoman turned business owner, Torres is a healthy-living advocate excited to open her one-of-a-kind concept for holistic living in Lake Nona.
From smoothies and salads to juices and overnight oats, Veg’n Out creates healthy food that is tasty and easy-to-order, pickup and eat when you are on-the-go and moving throughout your busy day.
In this Q&A, Torres shares her family’s journey to bring Veg’n Out to Lake Nona.
1. What about the Lake Nona community made you want to put down roots?
The corporate world left me unfulfilled and seeking a life of purpose and balance that makes me excited to wake up each day. My husband Daniel and I wanted to create a life for our family that gives us the freedom to work hard while being present for major milestones as our two kids enter elementary school. We wanted roots for them and for us to become contributing members of the Lake Nona community. Bringing Veg’n Out to life in Lake Nona gives us the opportunity to share our passion for a natural lifestyle and make a direct impact in our community.
Our family has lived in the Lake Nona area since 2015, but I’ve been in Orlando the majority of my life — from Lake Mary Elementary to graduating from Lake Mary High School in 1999. I’ve loved watching the Lake Nona community grow, and now being part of that growth is comparable to a fairytale. Working with Tavistock is my proudest accomplishment. What I like most about Lake Nona is its standard of excellence. Its concepts are always evolving and adjusting to market needs, bringing ideas you haven’t seen. I am truly humbled to sit alongside the businesses that call Lake Nona home.
2. How did you become so passionate about healthy eating?
Our wellness journey unfolded when Danny was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. After multiple medications and nutritionist recommendations, he decided to begin his journey to a plant-based diet. Within six months, he was diabetes free and has been ever since. Faced with the challenge of feeding my family plant-based meals, I began incorporating more plants into our diets, which is what Veg’n Out is all about.
According to research by Nielson, nearly 40 percent of Americans actively try to incorporate more plant-based foods into their diets to improve overall health and nutrition, manage weight, eat more clean, address a health diagnosis or concern, save money, or to protect the environment.
3. What unique food offerings will we find at Veg’n Out?
Our concept is fresh and new – pairing cold-pressed juice and smoothies with a full salad concept you frequently see in major urban and metropolitan areas. We’ve got smoothies, juices, salads, smoothie bowls, soups and overnight oats. You don’t have to wait until we open to try a juice cleanse. You can order one for delivery online at vegnoutnow.com.
You won’t typically see us label ourselves as vegan or plant-based because we want visitors to realize that you can eat plants and be satisfied with not only the taste but the way it makes you feel from the inside out. Our menu is thoughtfully-sourced and made with organic fruits and vegetables with none of the processed plant-based substitutes you see entering the market every day. We are focused on health and have created our menu in collaboration with a holistic nutritionist.
With this transition from corporate career to business owner, I aim to positively influence the quality of life for our employees, guests, and the community through our culture, values, and every interaction. At Veg’n Out, you have our commitment that we won’t serve you anything we wouldn’t feed our own family, and we will fully integrate into Lake Nona life through our support of community wellness and educational events.
4. Tell us about your entrepreneurial spirit and how it brought you to Pixon/Lake Nona?
Until very recently, and it is still somewhat surreal, I never viewed myself as an entrepreneur. I’ve always been driven and focused, but I never realized that the experience I was gaining over the last 15 years was by design to position me today to successfully bring Veg’n Out to market.
We finally found the home for Veg’n Out in Pixon thanks to synergies of surrounding businesses in Lake Nona Town Center. When our journey first began two years ago, the process felt a little like surfing in the ocean. Just when you think you are going to catch the next big wave and ride it all the way in, you find yourself at the bottom. However, I’ve learned the importance of getting back up again, and I’m ready to catch the next wave that presents a new challenge, and to ride it better and with more finesse than my competitors.
5. How do you hope to inspire others to follow their passion and start businesses in Lake Nona?
We get by giving. I believe in building people up, and I hope my story inspires others to create the life they want to live. It takes grit and guts. I’ve held a corporate job while creating Veg’n Out. That has meant waking up as early as 3 a.m., working all day, putting the kids to bed, and then getting back online to wrap up anything left for the day.
Key fundamentals have made me successful throughout this journey, and I would be honored to share that path with others who are willing to put in the work. I had a combination of a great concept, engaged advisors, business acumen, marketing expertise, a branding expert, family support, and the ability to see my vision clearly, create it, and accept nothing less. Every time I questioned, is this too risky, is this road worth taking, I am given a sign that confirms I am right where I need to be and that everything will unfold in its own time.
In addition to Veg’n Out, Pixon will also welcome Uptown Eye Care and Orlando Credit Union this year.