After growing up in Chicago, Zenzile Powell knew that she wanted to come back to Hyde Park and make a difference in her hometown. As the owner of Zberry, Zenzile is putting a new spin on a traditional American dessert by serving the people in her community, one frozen yogurt at a time.
Growing Up In Hyde Park, Chicago
Zenzile was born and raised in the South Side of Chicago, where her family, friends, and teachers helped her grow into the woman she is today.
“I’m kinda of Hyde Parker. I didn’t live in Hyde Park until I was an adult, but went to school in Hyde Park from 3rd to 12th grade, so this is been my stomping ground pretty much most of my life.”
Zenzile eventually left home to attend Florida A&M University, where she pledged to Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and received her bachelor’s degree. Her love for Chicago brought her back to the Windy City after graduation, where Zenzile worked in corporate America for fifteen years as she dreamed of starting her own small business.
Launching Her Frozen Yogurt Business
Zenzile had always had a passion for food, and after years of working for other business owners she finally decided to launch her own business. After looking at different franchises and doing some research, Zenzile settled on opening a frozen yogurt shop in Hyde Park.
“Kind of, after doing some more homework, I noticed that Baskin Robbins had closed in Hyde Park and to me Hyde Park was just that neighborhood that was ideal for any kind of business, especially a smaller business. There’s no frozen offerings in the neighborhood and no frozen yogurt in the city. So I start[ed] kind of researching around, working on the business plan.”
Zenzile spent months planning her frozen yogurt business, and in 2011 Zberry finally opened its doors to the public. Everything about Zberry, from its name to the self-serve menu, reminds Zenzile’s customers that her business is family owned and operated.
“Being Zenzi I’m the Z in ZBerry.We used to go to a place called Berry Chill. When I asked Bryce, my son Bryce, what should we name the spot … I wanted to do something maybe in honor of him. He was like, ‘No.’ I said, ‘Bberry?’ He was like, ‘No, ZBerry.’ I’m like, ‘I think that will work better.’ So, there ZBerry was born.”
Growing As A Black Female Entrepreneur
As she builds her business, Zenzile continues to rely on her close network of family and friends. Her support system and the Hyde Park community have helped her grow into a successful black female entrepreneur.
“I’ve been blessed enough to have a powerful circle of friends, family, network, resources. I was able to have Black contractors here that worked on my shop, a Black architect that worked on my shop. When I tell you that these people delivered … I made sure that I hired my youth and our teenagers. Hyde Park being so diverse they’ve been extremely receptive to a Black-owned business. They’re happy to see a Black-owned business, and they’re happy to see a family-owned business in the neighborhood because that’s a lot of what Hyde Park is about.”
After five years in Hyde Park, Zberry is still serving some of the best-frozen yogurts in Chicago. Zenzile is determined to succeed as a small business owner and to keep Zberry alive for her family and her community.
“Failure is just not an option without an effort. I don’t like to start anything that I don’t see to some sense of completion. I think sometimes my endurance, my stubbornness, a little bit of all of that is like we have got to see some kind of success in the efforts here and just in life. Without really putting that effort out there I’m holding on. I’m going to make it happen. I’m going to make sure that I try everything out before I actually close the doors and kind of give up.”
Connect with Zberry Frozen Yogurt & Treats
Source: Black Owned Chicago