A generous group of Atlanta-based entrepreneurs was in the spirit of giving this holiday season. Several of them, along with their wives and fellow business owners, took over all 12 registers of a Kroger store in Decatur, Georgia.
Four of the entrepreneurs told Atlanta Black Star that for two hours, they collectively spent around $40,000 on groceries for nearly 300 excited shoppers at the Wesley Chapel Road location. “I know Marcus did about $12,000. I personally did $8,000,” said Nehemiah Davis, founder of the Circle of Greatness Academy and the Nehemiah Davis Foundation.
“I did about $7,800,” shared Alix Burton, who owns and operates trucking and logistics company Good Energy Worldwide. “I did about $7,000, my wife did a thousand, too,” said Jason Lobbell, creator of 4kpathwaytosuccess.com and X28 Fitness.
These friends and business owners say they wanted to bring some positivity and light to what’s been a dark year for many. “As our businesses flourished in 2020 during the pandemic, by the grace of God, we decided, ‘man, you know what? Let’s go ahead and get back to the community and just pay it forward,’ ” Burton said.
The men say they came up with the pre-Thanksgiving grocery store shutdown idea the night before, and devoted a couple of hours of their time to blessing hundreds of Kroger customers as well as employees.
The entrepreneurs each kept running tabs for shoppers as they rang up and bagged items for shoppers, leaving some customers in tears.
“Why are you guys doing this? Who are you?,” one of the customers asked Burton in an Instagram clip from the event. “Nobody,” he replied to the woman. “Just entrepreneurs giving back to the community that supports everything we do.”
The rewarding experience, they said, has given them a newfound respect for grocery store workers. “I don’t think y’all get the respect y’all need to get, because it ain’t that easy,” Burton said. “Shout out to the cashiers.” The successful men are no strangers to giving back to the community, sharing that in the past they’ve locked down gas stations to pay for everyone filling up their tanks.
Before heading out to Kroger to pay for shoppers’ groceries, the group spent time handing out meals to the homeless in Atlanta. Beyond giving back, the successful businessmen say that through their entrepreneurship they’ve been able to help people change their lives.
“Whether it’s people who go out and, you know, they go from struggling into learning financial literacy, and going out and gaining 100,000 lines of credit, building their own home or they go out and they start their own fleet trucks,” said Marcus Barney, who runs Recession-Proof Financial Literacy.
“They started with dispatching and $500, and now they’re making $5,000 a week,” Barney said. “This is the kind of impact that we’ve been able to have on a community just with the information that we share.”
The group’s acts of kindness went viral, and, as a result, they said their good deeds inspired others to pay it forward. The entrepreneurs add that they hope to show all young men that they can carve out a similar path of success for themselves.
“Everybody who stands here today, we literally all came from nothing,” Davis said. “Jason says this, and it’s one of my favorite quotes: ‘Focus on you until the focus is on you,’ and I think that’s gonna be a real thing to help anybody looking at this get to their goal.”