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The Spice Guy – A career with flavor

Meet Zach Johnston, the founder of The Spice Guy and a flavor master. Since 2013, he’s been exploring different continents and flavors and combining secret, high-quality ingredients into spice blends that restaurants, food manufacturers, home-chefs, and co-packing clients around the country can enjoy. Zach loves the daily operational side of his Denver-based business, but there is something he likes even more. Hint, it’s much more exciting than an Excel sheet.

The spice guy spices

Who are your main customers?

We’ve been widely accepted by the restaurant industry and are truly inspired by the care for the craft of the chefs that we work with on a daily basis. Their dedication to hospitality really inspires us in not only the spices that we make but also the way in which we conduct our customer service and overall business. Today we employ 20 people and we import 40,000 lb. of spices every week from all over the world.
It’s not just salt, pepper, and spicy chili. We collect and mix flavors from Asia, South America, and some are really unique.


Zach Johnston - founder of The Spice Guy and a flavor master

What do you like best about your work?

Our team is really the most fun part of my job. We’ve employed most of our staff for over 6 years at this point. It has been super special for me to be a part of the relationships that we’ve been able to build, the families we’ve gotten to watch grow, and the overall culture we’ve been able to foster.

Spices in small plates


Where do you see yourself in five years? What is your ultimate dream as a business owner?

Five years from now, The Spice Guy is reaching more people. The co-packing side of our business is where most of my growth focus lies at the moment, and I envision that to be my primary focus over the next half-decade. We get to help people bring their dreams of being business owners with great products to life. It’s an awesome process to be a part of and really inspiring to see the enthusiasm people have as they start their new ventures.

״We get to help people bring their dreams of being business owners with great products to life״

What inspires you as a business owner?

I really like the operational side of my work like sales, accounting, and marketing but I am most inspired by people. Whether that be chefs, new start-up businesses, or my own team. I am constantly inspired by the people we have chosen to surround ourselves with.

The spice guy spices box


What advice would you give to your past self before opening your own business?

RUN! I am only kidding. I would tell myself to be more open to answering people’s questions with the word “no”. As a young entrepreneur, I was so eager to please existing and potential customers. Every now and then you end up getting a bit out of your lane when “yes” is always your answer. As we mature in our business, we end up knowing exactly what our lane is and we stay in it more often than not. We know what we’re good at and we also know where the deficiencies are, so avoiding those by focusing on our strengths has made a huge difference.



Zach Johnston is the founder of The Spice Guy, a spices shop located in Denver.

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