Ohio State alumnus Zach Weprin had always dreamt of owning his own business.
The 2008 finance graduate started FUSIAN sushi in 2010 along with his brother Josh Weprin, a 2006 OSU graduate and best friend Stephan Harman. The trio were all in their early 20s at the time. Since then, the restaurant has grown to ten locations throughout Ohio, including four in Columbus and one in the University District at 14 E. 11th Ave.
“It’s been a scary ride since Day One,” Zach Weprin said. “We are extremely grateful for success, but it could disappear any second. We’re fighting to survive each and every day, but as long as we keep learning, we will survive.”
FUSIAN serves customizable sushi rolls with simple and natural ingredients, according to its website. The owners said they had entrepreneurial hopes and dreams, but never knew exactly what they wanted to pursue. Even given the success of the business, Zach Weprin said he did not want to come off like he always had it figured out.
“I wasn’t some 12-year-old kid dreaming of sushi or anything,” Zach Weprin said. “I had a leaf-blowing business in high school, Steve had a corn-hole business in college, and Josh had a pooper-scooper business … I always wanted to own my own thing, but I had no idea what it would be.”
Zach Weprin said some elements of his degree aided him in starting the restaurant.
“Business as a whole was helpful, but not my specialization,” Zach Weprin said. “Surrounding myself with business minds and just that way of thinking was what was important.”
Josh Weprin, a human ecology, consumer and family financial services graduate said regardless of the major, there was a learning curve to starting a business.
“I brought different skills to the table than Zach and Steve. Coming from this field, I knew that no one was doing what we were doing,” Josh Weprin said.
Zach Weprin cited determination and passion for the business as keys to getting support from the community.
“It was about getting people’s attention,” he said. “I barged into their offices, and I never accepted no for an answer. I found the people to get us in the right spot. I called anybody who would listen. Then, people started finding us after they tried our product.”
It was scary taking the risk of starting FUSIAN at a young age, Zach Weprin said, but he would still recommend that aspiring entrepreneurs take the leap.
“It’s scary as s—, but it’s a way of living,” he said. “It’s a 365-day way of thinking, and creating that balance, and fighting for your dreams, so make those sacrifices, and just go for it.”