An Entrepreneurship Success Story
Meet Denzel Veale. In 2012, the Atlanta, GA native was recruited by Athletics Director and head coach Reginald Ruffin to attend Miles College on a football scholarship. A decade later, Mr. Zeale has two master’s degrees and a thriving business that is helping to solve the problem of community food deserts.
Hard Work — and Ingenuity
While attending Miles, Denzel majored in Criminal Justice with hopes of becoming a lawyer. Socially, he participated in the First Year Enrichment (FYE) program, where he mentored incoming freshmen and became a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
As if managing coursework, football practice, and social activities wasn’t enough, during his sophomore year, Denzel started a nonprofit organization with a hometown friend called American Muscle Fitness Club. This fitness program was designed to bring physical activity and nutritional education to the students at Miles College, along with bringing uplift to the campus. The program became an approved organization for students to join and, with the networking help of Greek organizations and the Student Government Association, the word quickly spread.
The Birth of Access Health Bar
After graduating from Miles College, Denzel went on to receive a Master’s in Public Administration from Troy University and a Master’s in Public Health from Tuskegee University. With the nonprofit running at full speed and now becoming an approved organization not just at at Miles, but at Troy University, Tuskegee University and other colleges, too, Denzel wanted to find an avenue to make more capital to help sustain American Muscle Fitness Club.
“You don’t have to go to the biggest college to build a platform for yourself. You have to do the groundwork to build something.”
As fate would have it, through his thesis work for his Public Health program and the connections with local farmers, Denzel opened the Access Health Bar on February 27th, 2021 to help the community combat the growing food desert that had begun to take hold in the area. Access Health Bar’s mission is to “promote optimal health by connecting farmers, health products, and communities. We take pride in providing our signature farm to table smoothies and health-event programs.
Success — Thanks to Miles College Faculty
When asked who his major influencers were at Miles, Mr. Veale credits Reverend Larry Batie, the Miles College football coaches, and Dean Charles Stallworth (then Professor Stallworth) who believed in the program very early on and served as an advisor for the nonprofit.
Denzel Veale loves Miles College and says the most important thing he learned while attending Miles is: You don’t have to go to the biggest college to build a platform for yourself; you have to do the groundwork to build something. As for the future, Denzel Veale hopes to find a way to spread access to healthy food to other HBCUs by creating a food truck version of Access Health Bar or maybe setting up an on-campus store.