Today, Nav announced Detric Fox-Quinlan and Malik Rhasaan, owners and founders of Che Butter Jonez, an Atlanta-based food truck, as the $10,000 winner of the company’s Small Business Grant.
“Access to capital is one of the biggest struggles that a business owner will encounter,” shared Greg Ott, Nav CEO. “Now, couple that with an unprecedented pandemic and you’ve got an even bigger challenge. Over the last few weeks Che Butter Jonez has not only pushed through COVID complications, but they’ve used unexpected extra time to re-examine their businesses operations and determine what is holding them back from taking their business forward. We’re excited to see how the couple uses the $10,000 to remove present hurdles, allowing them to focus on the future and grow the business of their dreams.”
After noticing a lack of dining options in their community, the couple opened Che Butter Jonez in 2018 to help unite people of their community with quality comfort food. Prior to COVID-19 restrictions, the food truck was serving hundreds of customers weekly. The unprecedented hurdles of operating a food truck during a pandemic and state-mandated regulations significantly decreased revenues and forced them to focus on day-to-day survival rather than growth. On days of complete shutdown, the couple took time to evaluate their business, finding areas where simple improvements and changes could revolutionize their business.
“People assume that having a food truck is easier and more cost effective than having a bricks-and-mortar business,” shared Malik Rhasaan. “The reality is that it’s not. In fact, we’ve found that it’s even more difficult for us to access the money we need to grow our business. The $10,000 from Nav is going to help us streamline and organize the backend of our business, affording us more time to focus on what keeps our loyal customers coming back and new ones coming in — the food.”
Since they recently lost their base of operations location due to the impact of COVID, the couple plan to use the $10,000 prize to purchase equipment for a new base of operations that will be housed in a shipping container at a permanent location. Additionally, they will invest in a new point of sale system to help better organize their bookkeeping.
To learn more about Che Butter Jonez, read Nav’s latest blog post.
Two other small businesses were also awarded monetary prizes in this round:
- Inn at Horn Point, a family-owned and operated Bed & Breakfast in Annapolis, Maryland, received $2,000 to purchase resources to ensure patrons can easily adhere to social distancing parameters while dining, as well as increasing COVID compliance measures.
- Antique Candle Co., a woman-owned candle-making business, was awarded $1,000 toward the purchase of new equipment to make components of the candle-making process more efficient, allowing team members more time to hand-pour candles.
The Nav Small Business Grant was established to bring awareness to the roadblocks that entrepreneurs encounter while chasing their dreams, and help them overcome these challenges. Earlier this year, Nav awarded $10,000 to Three Tree Coffee, a mission-driven coffee shop. Philip Klayman, Founder of Three Tree Coffee, used the $10,000 grant to purchase a weigh and fill machine to speed up production and reduce the labor cost of hand-weighing and packing individual units of bagged coffee. Since launching in 2018, Nav has awarded more than $80,000 to small businesses across the country.