Columbus Chamber cbuzz: Zach Weprin of FUSIAN

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The Columbus Chamber and CD102.5 have partnered to bring the first business-themed podcast to Columbus. During cbuzz, host and local comedian Dan Swartwout will speak with local business owners and entrepreneurs and allow them to tell their story and highlight their organization, while further inspiring the entrepreneurial spirit that is buzzing in the city.

Build-your-own is no longer limited to the tastes of Mexican cuisine.

The goal was to create this sushi experience that we wanted that we couldn’t find anywhere,” says Zach Weprin Co-Founder of local sushi chain, FUSIAN. “It’s a fast-casual, build-your-own experience. You walk down a line pick and choose your ingredients.” 

From its flagship restaurant in downtown Cincinnati, FUSIAN has grown to 10 sushi joints in six and a half years. With four locations in Cincinnati, four in Columbus and two in Dayton, the eatery moved its headquarters to Harrison West in Columbus one year ago.

I always loved it,” Weprin says of the city where he went to OSU. “I always knew it would be a great home for FUSIAN, and that we would be able to kind of build this community and really develop this experience to ultimately build this foundation off of to skyrocket as we enter new markets.”

New markets are a plenty for the unique sushi concept. In-state expansions to Cleveland, Toledo and within existing markets, as well as out-of-state spots are all in the long-term plans.

During the podcast, Weprin opens up about his unexpected path to restaurateur.

When we opened our doors we were scared shitless,” he says. “We were 24 years old, never worked in a restaurant, but I think in many ways that was a benefit for us.”

Weprin and his team became students of all that was around them. Over time the enterprise has grown from making the rice all wrong, to customers coming in multiple times a week, to now investing in each location up front with a cohesive brand identity to position it for growth.

If there’s one thing that’s always constant at FUSIAN, it’s the desire to continually improve. From marketing, to learning how to grow a team that spans 10 restaruants, “We’ve been making changes since day one in order to create a better experience for the guest,” Weprin says. 

Listen as Weprin explains the transition from eating sushi to making it – and the challenges that come with marketing it.

“Selling sushi is not easy,” he says. “We’re really trying to educate the market on what our product is and serve in a way that’s never been done before.” 

Never miss a cbuzz podcast!  Visit the Columbus Chamber website for more great stories and advice from local business owners.

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