Johnathan Lacy grew up in South Central Los Angeles. His childhood dreams included being a small business owner. Lacy did not give up on his dream despite the many challenges he encountered. Today, he is a franchise owner and the first Black business person to own a 7-Eleven store in Nevada.
In his journey to becoming a 7-Eleven franchise owner, Lacy notes that he tried pursuing other childhood dreams and applied for funding but was unsuccessful because he was not the ideal candidate for a ‘loan.’ “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.
Despite all the rejections, Lacy did not give up. He worked hard to save whatever earnings he made from his multiple gigs to open his business. Indeed, after a year of planning, he has opened Nevada’s first Black-owned 7-Eleven in Las Vegas. As a proud business owner, Lacy is hoping that his hustle will inspire other Blacks to become their own boss.
“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,” said Lacy. “
A finance major at Cal Poly Pomona, Lacy moved to Las Vegas to be closer to his father, a retired firefighter, and also to pursue his dream of becoming an entrepreneur. He now spends more than 20-hours at his shop due to the unimaginable number of visitors he keeps receiving since he announced his shop on Twitter. “I sacrificed it all. Put all the bread in one basket. No investors. No outside money. Now I am the first black owner of a 711 franchise in the state on NEVADA! Blessings!” he wrote on Twitter.
“This is something that I figured would help me and my family, but also this community,” Lacy said. “When I looked at purchasing a 7-Eleven, I liked this one the most. I was comfortable with the people here. This neighborhood and all the customers have given me a lot of love and I appreciate it.”
Despite the buzz around his shop, hiring reliable people to manage his business remains one of his challenges. But it is a minor issue for him in the scheme of things. He also credits his uncle Tyrei Lacy, known as DJ Tee in L.A., for instilling a ‘can-do attitude in him.’
Lacy is also planning to open three more 7-Eleven stores in Las Vegas as well as support other Black people to open their own business. “This s**t will bring you to tears,” he said on Twitter. “Anyone that wants to know how to do it or needs guidance, [let me know]. I’m open to taking however long to teach cause no one taught me.”