Alive & Unedited: Joe DeLoss

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

After school, I tried to fly the coop and wound up back here. I think I didn't appreciate what this town had to offer. There are so many people who care about putting this city on the map.


I worked for a local investment bank for 18 months out of college. I'd been committed to this idea of sustainable social change through capitalism for some time, and the opportunity presented itself to come onboard with Lutheran Social Services. I made the switch in the fall of '08.


I was at the point where I was ready for a change. I wanted to contribute in a way that was more personally meaningful. I always joke that I sleep a lot better now - just not on as nice of sheets. It's a much lower thread count.


FreshBox Catering is a social-purpose business. All of our profits benefit work-training programs at Faith Mission homeless shelters. The ultimate goal is to provide a transformative work environment to empower people in the shelters to live independently.


My official title is director of social enterprise. Sounds fancy. I call myself the chief sandwich officer at FreshBox. I'm more comfortable with that.


Our mission gets us that first order, but people don't buy out of pity. We make really good food. We're just like any other lunch caterer Downtown. I mean, if the cookies sucked, you'd tell the Girl Scout to go away. Business is booming.


My entrepreneurial career started early. In eighth grade, I was an amateur magician. I did birthday parties, fair shows. I had the whole gamut of tricks. An eighth-grader pulling $50 a half-hour? Not bad.


The best advice I've ever received is to ask for forgiveness, not permission.


One thing in my life I regret not doing is that I really didn't take time after school to get a life before I got a job. You fall into this trap of get some job, make a lot of cash, buy a house, buy an engagement ring. All of these things, I decided, were not for me. Now I'm selling my little Bexley home for a trailer.


It's a 1963 Airstream Overlander. The inside is bright-ass green. It's named Henri. I'm turning it into my home right now. It will be this self-contained urban condo of sorts. It's really great.


Three things I can't live without are my phone, my dog and my trailer.

Know someone doing cool things around Columbus? E-mail John Ross at

Age: 25

Day job: Director of social enterprise, Lutheran Social Services of Central Ohio

Neighborhood: Bexley

Hometown: Gahanna

Alma mater: Capital University


Playing Favorites

Favorite TV show: "Locked Up Abroad" on National Geographic

Favorite movie: "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou"

Favorite book: "Walden" by Henry David Thoreau

Favorite song: "Colorshow" by The Avett Brothers

Favorite food: Red Caprese sandwich from FreshBox

Favorite drink: Bourbon and ginger ale

Favorite color: Lime green

Favorite place to travel: Grindelwald, Switzerland