Johnny Hackett Jr., founder and CEO of The Black Dollar Corp., walked away from his corporate job in 2011 to pursue entrepreneurship. After Johnny realized the lack of basic entry level skills represented in the workplace, he took a leap of faith to help set up other hungry entrepreneurs for success.
Johnny grew up in Greenville, NC, but migrated to Raleigh with his family in 1998. He graduated from Broughton High School + studied at North Carolina A&T State University. He is on the Board of Directors at A Place At The Table and the Downtown Raleigh Alliance + and is on Dogwood State Bank’s advisory board.
In 2019, he established The Black Dollar Corp. His business is now the parent company to #BlackDollarNC (an online directory for Black-owned businesses across NC), Black Friday Market (a retail hub for online businesses), and The Factory (a co-manufacturing facility).
We asked Johnny 10 questions about his favorite local restaurant, local leaders to follow, and tips for budding entrepreneurs.
What were the last 3 things you did locally?
I spoke at CreativeMornings + I also had a good lunch at The Raleigh Times. And I checked out the new Black-owned vintage store Unorthodox [Vintage], right around the corner from The Raleigh Times. I’m always downtown as you can tell.
Name some other local leaders, influencers, or movers + shakers you’re watching.
Danya Perry, Wake County’s first Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. He does a lot of work on behalf of small business owners and African American business owners. Jason Johnson is another person I’m watching. He’s the founder and CEO of HUBB Kitchens + established the first ghost kitchen in an international airport [RDU].
You can only choose one local restaurant menu item to bring with you to a deserted island — which one is it and why?
Right now it would be The Big Easy’s blackened chicken pasta. It just never misses.
What is something coming up locally that you are particularly excited about?
The African American Cultural Festival (Sat., Sept. 3 + Sun., Sept. 4)+ the Bluegrass festival (Fri., Sept. 30 - Sat., Oct. 1). Also, A Place At The Table has a fundraiser coming up (Pull Up A Chair on Sat., Sept. 18).
What do you think Raleigh will be known for in 10 years?
Raleigh will be known for production and sales of retail. I want [Raleigh] to be known for locally made, locally sourced products. I’m hoping that in 10 years, [Black Dollar Corp.] can help pave the way for some of that. We’re hoping that we can grow and that others who are interested in doing similar work can see us as an example and then start their own thing.
What equipment do you want to bring into The Factory next?
Embroidery machines + sewing machines are number one [on the list].
What’s something that every Raleighite should know about?
Black Friday Market + groups like the City of Raleigh’s Office of Economic Development are meant to support small business owners and entrepreneurs. I think people need to be engaged with the City + the [Raleigh] Chamber as well. There are organizations that exist to provide support to entrepreneurs.
What is your Sunday morning routine?
I’m typically up by 5:30 a.m. every morning, so I try to do some computer work. And then on Sundays, I’ll do on-boardings [at The Factory]. Then I go to the [Black Friday Market] and get ready for the Sunday rush; I’ll have two cups of coffee in between.
What is Pitch Perfect at The Factory?
It’s a program all about getting business owners to be able to speak about their businesses and to identify their audiences. We’re going to continue to do host [Pitch Perfect] at The Factory at least once a quarter.
Who do you think the most innovative company in The Factory is?
I like TDS Radio; they’re a brother + sister team. It’s not new tech they’re designing or creating, but the way that they have used and built their platform as a way to help everyone else. They’ve done an amazing job with that and spreading the love.