Since she was five years old, Gabby Morrison has worked at her family’s restaurant, performing simple tasks like stocking the cutlery and wiping down the tables. Shawn and Kiana, her parents, made sure she received compensation for her efforts.
By the age of 10, Morrison was serving customers at Nana Morrison’s Soul Food in southwest Charlotte in addition to the aforementioned tasks. Her parents told The Charlotte Observer that she began assisting with business tasks while still a fourth grader, including placing food orders, making employee schedules, and communicating with their bookkeeper.
Morrison excelled at these chores to the point where, at the age of 16, her parents appointed her as the manager of their second Nana Morrison’s shop, which opened in Charlotte’s Mountain Island neighborhood this past May. Morrison will be paid $100,000 year to oversee that facility, according to a story published in The Charlotte Observer in April. The teen at the time declared that she would continue her high school studies so that she may pursue her passion for entrepreneurship.
“I don’t have the desire to go and put the effort in to do it,” she said of college. Curiously, Morrison is an honor-roll student and will also graduate early this December, however, she believes that being in charge of the family business is the best thing to do right now.
“I was like, OK, this is the next step in my career. I can do this now, or put my career on hold that I know is always gonna be here, and take another path, and it might not work out. So it’s like, just stick to what you know, and continue on with the restaurant business, and I can grow in it,” she said.
Nana Morrison’s Soul Food opened in 2011 after Morrison’s mother struggled to find a soul-food restaurant in Charlotte that she preferred. “I always cooked at home. Everybody always seemed to like my cooking, and it was just like, OK, I want to open a restaurant,” she explained to The Charlotte Observer. “That’s how Nana’s came about. It was no desire to get into the restaurant business. It just felt like a lack of the type of food we were used to.”
Despite their early ages, Kiana and her husband made sure that all four of their children assisted in running the restaurant along the road, and now they are in charge. Shawn Jr., 24, currently oversees the original Nana’s while Morrison is in charge of the new facility. Before her father realized she was the best person for the job, the role almost went to someone else. Shawn Sr. stated, “I don’t believe age (being a limiter),” adding that young people should always be given the chance to show themselves.