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Obituary, Solomon Choi Death CEO of Jabba Brands and Founder of 16 Handles, Passes Away from Heart Attack at 45

Obituary, Solomon Choi Death CEO of Jabba Brands and Founder of 16 Handles, Passes Away from Heart Attack at 45

Jun 11, 2024
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Solomon Choi, the renowned founder and former CEO of 16 Handles, and current CEO of Jabba Brands, has tragically passed away from a heart attack at the age of 45. Choi was a dynamic force in the food and beverage (F&B) industry, known for his innovative approach and commitment to improving the way people eat, drink, and live. His untimely death has left a void in the industry and among those who knew him personally and professionally.

Solomon Choi was a seasoned entrepreneur with over two decades of experience in the F&B sector. Born in Seoul, South Korea, and raised in California, Choi’s passion for the food industry was ignited at a young age. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the USC Marshall School of Business, where he developed a foundation in entrepreneurship and business management. His educational journey continued with certifications in Restaurant Revenue Management and Digital Marketing from eCornell, and a Beginner’s Mandarin certification from Tsinghua University, showcasing his commitment to continuous learning and cultural understanding.

Choi’s career began in earnest with the founding of 16 Handles in 2008, New York City’s first self-serve frozen yogurt shop. Under his leadership, 16 Handles expanded to over 40 locations internationally, becoming a beloved brand known for its quality products and innovative customer experience. Choi’s vision and determination turned 16 Handles into NYC’s largest frozen yogurt franchise, a testament to his entrepreneurial spirit and ability to execute a successful business model. The franchise thrived without external investment for nearly 15 years, generating eight-figure revenues and setting a high standard in the industry.

In addition to 16 Handles, Choi founded Greeno Products, a supplier of custom and off-the-shelf disposables for the food service industry. Greeno Products similarly flourished under Choi’s guidance, achieving seven-figure revenues and gaining a reputation for sustainability and quality in food service disposables. Both companies demonstrated Choi’s knack for identifying market needs and creating solutions that resonated with customers and business partners alike.

In 2019, Choi took on a new challenge by founding Jabba Brands, a company dedicated to advising, investing in, and operating ventures that enhance people’s lifestyles through better eating and drinking experiences. As CEO of Jabba Brands, Choi continued to influence the F&B industry, leveraging his extensive knowledge and experience to support other entrepreneurs and startups. His investments and advisory roles in companies such as Lunchbox, Sanzo, and Kolkata Chai Co. helped these businesses scale and succeed, further solidifying his legacy as a mentor and leader.

Choi was also an Angel Squad Member at Hustle Fund, a venture capital firm that invests in early-stage startups across various sectors, including F&B. His involvement with Hustle Fund allowed him to support innovative ventures and contribute to the growth of the startup ecosystem. Choi’s core competencies in franchising, go-to-market strategy, restaurant technology, and bootstrapped growth were invaluable assets to the companies he supported.

Beyond his professional achievements, Solomon Choi was known for his enthusiasm for food trade shows and restaurant technology summits. He enjoyed sampling the latest innovations and sharing his insights with others at networking events where the worlds of food, beverage, and technology intersected. His passion for the industry was evident in his willingness to learn from others and his dedication to staying at the forefront of F&B trends.

Choi’s contributions extended to the academic world as well. He frequently spoke to students, entrepreneurs, and organizations, sharing his experiences and expertise on F&B and entrepreneurship. His mission was to build leading F&B brands that people love and that positively impact the world, a mission he pursued with unwavering dedication throughout his career.

Solomon Choi’s sudden passing has left a profound impact on the F&B community. Colleagues, friends, and family remember him as a visionary leader, a mentor, and a generous soul who was always willing to lend his support and guidance. His legacy lives on through the brands he built, the businesses he helped grow, and the countless individuals he inspired along the way.

Choi is survived by his family, who have requested privacy during this difficult time. Tributes from the F&B industry and beyond have poured in, celebrating his life and accomplishments. The legacy of Solomon Choi will undoubtedly continue to influence the industry he loved and dedicated his life to.

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