It was one year ago when Genga Ponnampalam opened Go Veggies at the corner of Bryant and Elmwood Avenue. After being a regular on the farmers’ market circuit, Genga decided to plant roots in a neighborhood that had supported him for years. Since opening, he has been busy cultivating a vegetarian following, while at the same time he’s been busy preaching the good word on vegetarianism to as many groups that will listen.
One of the places that Genga has found some inroads is the University at Buffalo. After stopping in for lunch earlier this week, he told me that the university has signed up to purchase his veggie burgers to sell at an on-campus food truck and even at its dining centers. “UB understands that there are students who want to eat local, healthy and even gluten free,” Genga told me. “Believe it or not, there are plenty of vegans out there who don’t want chicken wings for lunch.”
This is big news for a guy who has helped to lead the charge when it comes to turning people on to the delicious benefits of eating healthier. Upon visiting Go Veggies, I was treated to a plate of veggie rolls, a lentil burger in a rice wrap, with fresh mango juice. Does it get any better than that? I’m happy to hear that soon UB students will get to enjoy a few of these same treats. Thankfully UB understands the benefits of supporting a local business, and the health ramifications of serving up this type of food to its students.
In keeping with his ambitious nature, Genga has also established a Community Supported Vegetarianism program that offers customers the ability to prepay for the food that they eat. The monthly payment system (with rollover) allows healthy eaters to create a pre-pay account that ultimately saves them upwards of half the cost of eating at Go Veggies. That’s a win-win for both parties. Genga invests the money into inventory and the customers save a ton of money in the process.