Green Ocean Foods Inc.For this month's Small Business Spotlight, we were very pleased to meet with Green Ocean Foods owner, Ms. Tina Xie, and her daughter, Jane Tang. Their business started in March 2021 during a challenging time for businesses across the globe due to the pandemic. Because of this, Ms. Xie was unsure of whether they would get customers or not. They even paid rent for an entire year before opening the shop just to keep the property because they knew that "Doraville was such a great location to start a business, to sell authentic tea, abalone (an edible mollusk), seaweed; and to introduce the great ocean products from Lian Jiang County (Fujian Province) of China."
Ms. Xie noted that Green Ocean Foods is the first Chinese business to sell freshly picked tea from Changlong Tea Mountain of FuZhou, Fujian, China. The tea business acts not only as a retail store but also as a liaison office appointed by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) of Fuzhou, Lian Jiang county. Their business is the first and only Chinese liaison office to honor the ocean and mountain products of FuZhou, Fujian, China.
All the transactions with customers are handled on a tea table, where they provide samples of each customer's desired tea, made fresh.
One of the products Green Ocean Foods sells is early spring tea imported straight from the Changlong Tea Mountain in China. The main goal is to promote the mindful consumption of high-quality traditional food and beverages. Long-term health requires consuming foods that are organic and natural while avoiding foods that are processed. Another treasured item sold at the store is a dish called the "Buddha Jumps Over the Wall Soup," also known as Buddha's Temptation or Fotiaoqiang. This soup consists of nutritious Chinese delicacies simmered long and slow with 15-30 grams of protein. Its ingredients include shitake mushrooms, sea cucumber, quail eggs, bamboo shoots, scallops, abalone, fish maw, chicken, Jinhua ham (dry-cured ham from Jinhua), pork tendon, ginseng, and taro.
Q: What made you want to start this business?
A: "It is a tradition to drink tea. When you give a prized gift to someone, it is usually tea. When Chinese people have first-time meetings or business deals, it is a custom to negotiate such dealings at a tea table. The tea that we sell is premium tea. A lot of our biggest clients are owners of other businesses."
Q: What makes this business special for you?
A: “From the beginning, we really believed that the future of Doraville was going to grow very nice and strong. Because the Chinese government believes Green Ocean is promoting our hometown traditions so well, Chinese government officials may be visiting us in 2023 during the Seafood Convention in Boston, by making a stop in Doraville.”
Q: How did everything start?
A: We partnered with the government to act as a representative in the United States. If anyone wants to start a franchise here later, Green Ocean Foods is the first stop they must make to get in contact with the government in China.
Q: How do you advertise your business?
A: Many of our potential clients are unfamiliar with our products, so we must introduce the food, provide samples, and tell the stories behind the food. Our clients include both Asians and Americans. We do not advertise our business; instead, we get most of our clients referred by existing clients.
Q: Why Green Ocean?
A: Our business name, Green Ocean, has a deeper meaning. Green means healthy. Our business aims to spread the word to people that they can eat healthy and organic food that won't negatively affect their bodies. Lin Jiang is our hometown, and we live by the ocean. That is where "Ocean" comes from, and we want to bring healthy food across the ocean. Abalone and scallop live in the deep sea, and this is what supports our business. If a customer comes in and they want a high-quality tea for a gift or if they ask us to provide a recommendation, we always will give them a sample of the tea they might be interested in purchasing.
Q: What would your advice be to someone who wants to start a business?
A: It is very important to know what product you are going to start with. As a business owner, it is critical to have professional training to become familiar with the product.
Green Ocean Foods INC. is located at 145 Buford Hwy, Suite B&C. Doraville, Ga 30340. Open Hours: Monday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. Wednesday for appointments only. For more information, visit their website https://www.greenoceanfoods.com