“Avaflava” is the nickname earned in high school by Ava Harren, the owner of Avaflavas in Boise because of her love of flavors and cooking. “I have always had a passion for food, which is why I went to culinary school,” says Harren. “Our purpose at Avaflavas is to make healthy eating fun, “flava-full,” and something to look forward to every week.”

What wasn’t fun was the negative effects of COVID-19 on both the restaurant and the local gyms that support her. Both Avaflavas and several health clubs had to close for months and Harren has also experienced many food shortages as she tried to ramp up service.

Yet, Herren’s resilience is paying off as business is beginning to return and she is looking to expand her connection with health-conscious customers. “I’m going to be passing it on by providing free food to patrons of Mecca Gym,” says Herren. “What better way to re-launch our services than by offering food to gym members, and with Columbia Bank picking up the check, that is exactly what we are going to do!”