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Imagine not even knowing what you are about to accomplish until you are already accomplishing it. That was the case for Jonathan Lacy, the man that became the first Black owner of a 7-Eleven franchise in the state of Nevada. “I started asking around to executives and they were like, ‘Yeah, I don't think we have anyone else of color in that situation,'” said Lacy.
Lacy, originally of LA, was a finance major at Cal Poly Pomona. He wanted to move to Las Vegas to be closer to his father, retired firefighter Michael Matthis. In addition, Lacy has always had dreams of being a small-business owner. And Lacy hopes his accomplishment will inspire other entrepreneurs to pursue their own dreams.
“I hope it leads to more businesses being opened by African-Americans as well as women, minorities and everybody. Hopefully we can all have a hand in establishing ourselves.”
Securing the funding to open the 7-Eleven he bought on Pecos Road and Tropicana Avenue was not easy. Many banks turned him down on loan requests. But that didn't deter Lacy. “A lot of people won’t take that chance on you. Especially being 30 years old and not having a million dollar mansion in my name,” he told the Las Vegas Sun. Lacy also didn't have any help from crowdsourcing or any outside lenders. Instead, he worked and saved up enough money to buy his very first business.
“What I did was just save every dollar I got and I put everything I had towards it. My family came together. Gave me jobs here, gave me jobs there, just to keep me going.”
Since then, it’s been plenty of 20-hour work days. And plenty of visitors stopping by to show support. When he posted on Twitter that the Black-owned venture was up and running, many in the community showed up in support. The love has been overwhelming, he says with a smile. He hopes to pave the way for more minority business owners in Southern Nevada, saying it’s important for young people, especially of color, to know the possibilities are endless.
Earlier this year, we at Black Business Boost reported about the benefits of franchising for Black business owners. Lacy is a prime example of how franchising could be a smarter options for those looking to move away from the typical 9 to 5 lifestyle and work for themselves.
“Being a small-business owner, you’re not only a boss, but you’re also counseling people and teaching people new skills … giving them tools. I’m a teacher at heart.”
There are many ways to go into business for yourself. And Lacy is just one example of one of those. Even his inability to secure a loan is an example of why it is important for Black banks to give these opportunities to our community.
Those who wish to support his store can visit his location at 421 East Tropicana Ave Las Vegas, NV 89120. It’s located less than 2 miles from the world famous Las Vegas Strip. Lacy said he is accepting applications for employment and plans to open three or four more 7-Elevens in Las Vegas.
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