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Jonathan Morris - Entrepreneur

Jonathan Morris

Hotel Dryce, Fort Worth Barber Shop, Entrepreneur

Jonathan Morris, owner of the boutique Hotel Dryce and the Fort Worth Barber Shop as well as star of Self Employed, on The Magnolia Network. This smooth local entrepreneur shares his story about following your dreams and doing it the right way. Jonathan exudes style and grace as he inspires others to think big and never settle. Love this dude!

Please enjoy the best Fort Worth has to offer.

Audio Only

Episode Transcription: 

ready welcome to fortitude uh that noise
you’re making has come from my esteem musically inclined partner print and Payne uh what are we hearing today Rin
this is just a little Club Mix I put on for Jonathan I asked him if he DJ’d I
guess I can turn it down now um you just lost your pencil if I’m good I asked him if he DJ but he actually just play
records I can flip a record right turn a record um I’m not mixing anything oh yeah yeah
look at the professionals I’ll tell you what I actually have can consider the idea of like doing like
a DJ school and like yeah like actually DJ they have those they have those I’ve I’ve looked into it nice The Voice
you’re hearing Brenton and those of you tuning in is one Jonathan Morris we
found he’s not 37 years old like we’re led to believe he’s 38. as of last week still a youngster but man what a story
this guy’s got Brandon thanks for being here yeah cap Tech’s Bank thank you guys for making this all happen we are
actually here because of cap text Bank Jonathan so we owe them a lot I like those guys they’re they’re good dudes
Mike hasn’t approved Britain’s new uh sound bites but he’ll probably be okay with it so well he’s gonna give me a
loan that’s a record deal all right Jonathan but I got it on record now he can’t back out beautiful
all right so Jonathan Morris uh we have a lot to talk about but at the beginning
you grew up in San Antonio you’re not a Fort Worth native most people who know you know that but that obviously is
important part of your life whatever happened in San Antonio growing up that led you to your this life thing you call life so San Antonio so my family is
actually all from Fort Worth my parents grandparents all grew up in Fort Worth um my parents moved our family two four
to San Antonio the year I was born actually and so um growing up it was always coming to
Fort Worth and hanging out in Fort Worth in the summertime and visiting families and everything so I’ve always had a very
much a um a a tying connection and familiarity with with the city
um but you know 10 years ago actually actually 10 years next month will be
um like my official moving to Fort Worth and actually like yeah calling it home home for did you guys move down to San
Antonio for like job like your dad got a job down yeah yeah he’s working down there and you know San Antonio like I
still have a very we we we left there and moved to Austin when I was young I was like seven six seven years old
um but San Antonio lost that whole Central Texas region is a very special place in my heart and I think that it is
um I don’t know like I’ve basically grown up all up and down I-35 yeah what’s your favorite memory of San
Antonio from your youth man I always think about like being young and going to Mexican food restaurants
and hearing Mariachis like that’s one of the things that’s like I don’t know just like those early really early childhood
memories just really really sunk what’s your favorite item on a Mexican food menu uh cheese enchiladas always with
onions or without with onions yes like like the thing about a cheese enchilada is like it ain’t gonna be that bad and if it is
if there’s just more cheese more sauce yeah like it will be tolerable It should be hard to mess up right you could it’s
like the safety BET right like in any Mexican food place I’m gonna tell you what you need to know about where you are you know what I’m saying so exactly
all right that’s a good barometer yeah yeah so you High School San Antonio no I
went to high school so uh after San Antonio we left left San Antonio moved to Austin we’re outside of Austin
Pflugerville PF lugerville no I was there until uh just before high school
and then we moved to North Texas um and at that time we were um up near
up near Denton and so I actually graduated from Denton High School oh nice oh yes any sports uh no not not
when I was at Denton when I was like freshman software at Louisville high school before there uh I played a little
play little football what were you interested in mostly it was it music was it business what was going through your
through your life outside of school yeah yeah so um during that time like
softly say sophomore year in high school that’s when like things really kind of
started to kick in gear in terms of like thinking about business and thinking about like creating little little little
side hustles and so yeah um that word didn’t exist back then yeah it was that’s that’s that’s what I was
doing man it was you know so this is like this is like 99 to like
the year 2000 so if you remember like like age of like Napster in like CD
burners here like flash files people had just got sea Burns at their house yes and so uh one of my classmates Richard
he had a CD burner at his house he was a he was super super introverted
guy yeah I don’t know where this guy is now he was super introverted Richard if you’re out there yeah uh you’re under arrest for burning music
we parted a lot of music so yeah we um he would burn the CDs I would take him I
would bring him to school I had this list of like all the records that we had and then I would go to each class like
all my classes but hey make your own I I got I got I got I got this Ja Rule for you tomorrow five dollars get out of it
so I would uh he would make the CDs I would go to school deliver them get
father so give them anything extra like you got the jar rule on there and it’s like I
put in a little bit of you know this just to see if you liked it too you know I don’t think I was doing a lot of
discounts I wasn’t doing yeah special deals it was like do you want Nelly Country Grabber or not yes yes yeah yeah
no man but it was um that was uh you know I think that it was one of those those kind of early times of like kind
of just recognizing like okay there’s a market for something and then in that
same year I rolled out this line of band these rhinestone
bedazzle bandanas and so this is back when like oh man like Destiny’s Child
and yeah Steve were rocking these rhinestone bandanas so I figured out how to I want to figure out how to buy
bandanas wholesale and I remember me and my buddy uh got Stone he used to um he had a car I
didn’t have a car yet and he and I would uh ride out in his Regal down to Harry
Hines and there was this uh all these like wholesale shops yeah and I would um
learn how to create like a little account and buy these bandanas then I would go to Michael’s and buy these
rhinestones yeah and I had a glue gun and I would sit in my bedroom but Dazzle these these
these uh these bandanas put them in a box real nice take them back to my classmates and sell these bandanas and
that was that was me just kind of like recognizing like okay there’s a there’s a market in here the
entrepreneurial Gene is how much like I I think about that I knew Michaels was going to come off all right so Mike so
Michael’s is where I went wrong so it I should have been trying like I don’t know why I didn’t find the rhinestones
at wholesale yeah because those the little packages those were taxing me man okay that’s where I was that’s where I
was really losing March but when you would come back with that cash from the sale yeah how much were you able to put
aside and then how much would have to go to buy in the product and stuff again like like have like 50 no oh no kidding
yeah you were making you were making some money though this time so yeah okay well then you you then it gets really
the interesting uh part of your life kicks up a notch you head out to Atlanta
to Morehouse College yeah cool place tell us about Morehouse College Morehouse Morehouse College I think is
one of the most important kind of phases of my life which by the way I didn’t finish school at Morehouse I am a bona
fide College Dropout um we call that entrepreneurs sometimes during that time though man like one of
the things that I I loved about um the HBCU experience at Morehouse is
that you know you look at so Morehouse College is historically black college in Atlanta right in the city in the West
End of Atlanta um and next door to Morehouse College which Morris also is all men’s uh school
next door is Spelman College all women’s HBCU and then right on the other side of
those campuses is Clark Atlanta University just co-ed um but it is this mecca for
leadership and I think where a lot of people’s you know ideas uh begin
and particularly being on the campus at Morehouse College one of the things that I think is was was was unique about that
experience I tell people you know we were all you know 18 to 22 year old black men on
this Campus of I think you know what it might have been like 3 200 enrollments like that
um which is a very distinct you know demographic but during that time in my
in my life that was the absolute absolute most diversity that I had been
surrounded by right because all of a sudden coming from you know the suburbs in in north Texas
um that was the first time that I was meeting people from California and from New York and yeah
um kids that grow up super affluent and kids that grew up in the hood and kids that our word word skater kids and nerds
and yeah Surfers like every uh every spectrum of the black experience was in
that you know two mile you know radius of our of our small economy less than that of our small campus
um but it was so it’s such an important time for me
um to number one just like understand like what is it like for for people that don’t come from where I come but at the
same time we have this shared experience yeah it was um it’s a magical place it’s
the um alma mater of uh Martin Luther King Jr Spike Lee uh Samuel L Jackson
yeah uh a lot of people have gone on to to do really incredible things and
change the world and so you’ve read a lot of your your successes these days because of those starting to interruptions but that because of things
that happened you there and things you learn like you just mentioned the seeing what is possible man like being able to
be in a place where I saw people that look like me go on and do incredible things and it really you know changed
their worlds and change their communities um and take their ideas and present them
um to the world and and that I think I think that I always had that inning but I think that had more house like it definitely uh was was reeled in and I
was um made to to really believe what was possible for myself you’re talking like
there’s so much like positivity and an optimism and energy coming out of it and it’s like it makes it like I I’m
envisioning this place and I’m just gonna I mean I’m gonna ask this like were there a lot of conversations about
like you know a kind of a pre and I’m not trying to make this real but it was like
it seems like it was a very inspiring and kind of optimistic thing whereas
I it’s hard for me to kind of articulate is that still happening there you know
like if it seemed like a beautiful time it’s it’s it is it is this Macro for
instilling excellence um in in young men that is
um has been happening for for decades now but I think that there’s a there’s a
Mystique around it yeah a lot of people are very you know proud of their you know their college experiences and stuff you know but I mean I think that
um for me it was exactly where I needed to be in that time in my life
um and it still is very much a part of of of of who I am helped craft you know
uh who I am at least the you know the 18 to 22 year old version of sure who I was
well clearly because she came back and you did right like there was this something that happened in you that was like you executed like you didn’t sit
there and say I can’t do this I can’t I mean you’ve done a ton you know and it and like if it came from there that’s a
really cool thing you know or if a piece of it did really really really really really really um proud to be have been Associated
which by the way they just for the first time came out with like an online program so I have actually thought about like
finishing it more hours yeah but I’m gonna if I do it I’m only gonna do if I can like get like a scholarship sure
yeah when he placed it Martin Luther King went to school and you’re following in that I mean just somehow that has to has
to move a little bit absolutely congratulating that it’s a good good job uh I got to come in you partner over there uh you you didn’t uh bite on the
buzzword surfing we talked about surfing earlier we didn’t take debate I commend you you know as he was talking about the
pride in the college experience and I look at these TCU helmets everywhere here I was wondering who else might have
that price no I was really trying to like navigate carefully with that because I wasn’t trying to put anything
like insinuate that we’re at a different time and like look I think people are
people and some you know I’ve learned a lot about execution from jub J dub and like that I maybe didn’t have at certain
times in my life and I think being around people who do is is sometimes a really good thing and I think it’s
really cool that you recognize that we can all make excuses about a lot of things being being in an environment where you’re
surrounded by excellence and you’re surrounded by people who are pushing themselves and there is an expectation
um to be striving towards greatness um in whatever and yeah whatever you do
um there’s something that’s very sticky and very contagious about that and being surrounded in in engulfed in an
environment that um that that reads that is um
it was important for me nice so what was the side hustle there let’s get right down to it uh so still The Rhinestone uh
sequenced bandanas that no no no no no no um that that era had come and gone we
would like one here at the show I’d be happy to support those around my mom has them at the house actually I think I
think there’s a few floating around um when I was in school I remember trying
to launch this little business that I had this idea for and it was this
cons actually now that I think about it it all comes back around so it’s just like concierge business right where I
was going to be able I was going to be on call and people could reach out to me to run their errands pick up things and
I was going to be in a grow a network of people that I was just like running around I didn’t really have the model
really really honed in and it it didn’t really take off in the way that I wanted
to however I came home um One Summer I think it was the summer
after my sophomore year after my freshman year and I sent out emails to
people all across DFW saying hey here’s what I’ll I can help
you with and essentially what I didn’t realize what I was doing I was creating myself for a a job for a job to be a
personal assistant yeah right yeah and this young lady in Dallas Dominique she reached out to me said hey
I’ve known her email or something I don’t know what all this is about but I need some help in my mark for my marketing company and I ended up taking
this gig with her um helping her out while I was home for the summer and I started learning about
you know what the world of marketing was yeah from this um also young she was
probably she might be like mid-20s maybe then but like she was like especially like doing her thing yeah and so I was
then I was there um helping her build that business essentially being a personal assistant washing cars
making phone calls it was this is all like right on the custom like social
media and stuff and so um yeah like everything kind of leads to yeah did any uh did this did these words
ever come out with that that concierge business if I buy you beer and deliver it to your dorm room I’m gonna have to
thank you or no I did not I did I didn’t I didn’t I’m kidding
so you moved back to Dallas I moved to Dallas from from Atlanta in 2008 look
and you’re in you’re involved but you told us digital marketing but that’s where you spent a few years yeah you
know you’re getting all your stuff together no doubt uh then let’s get let’s move on forward so 2012 you
decided to take the big leap come over the big come over to funky town uh Funky Town Fort Worth you you come here and
then it really gets kicked it kicks off so you started a I mean we’d love to know how this happened but Fort Worth
Barber Shop can aim to be when you move back here there’s a there’s a story
there but it’s actually you told us before the show today is the eighth year anniversary of Fort Worth Barber Shop
eight years ago today fantastic opening up the doors for the for the first time yeah man like you know that that was one
of the um you know I think one of the best decisions that I I ever made as an
entrepreneur is is you know just kind of understanding so in 20 2012 I moved to
Fort Worth my life now we got married in the fall of 2012. um and in 2014 I was still you know
commuting back and forth to to to Dallas working at the agency
um but I was going to a barber shop in that so the barber shop that I was going to was in Dallas it was actually in the
building downtown that I worked in and I was just like pop in like during my lunch break hey can I get the cut yeah
come on and it was cool cool little spot but what was happening during that time is like
you know my life was happening in Fort Worth my friends and family was was
really mostly happening in Fort Worth we hear that a lot yeah yeah and then you know Dallas was just kind of like where
I was going to go to work yeah and I started to kind of think like there’s
there has to be like some cool barber shops like in Fort Worth and so I
started looking online so at the at the same time like I’m working in digital marketing I’m helping my day-to-day job
is helping Brands you know be discoverable and you know how to how they how they tell a message across
social media you know and so I’m thinking to myself like there has to
be a barber shop in Fort Worth I’m looking for barber shops online and I’m not seeing anything that is of interest
to me anywhere that like I’m trying to go I can’t wait to go to I’m starting to
ask you know my my my my friends and and and people in Fort Worth
where do you where do you go to the barbershop at yeah what do you like about it and at that time everybody that
I asked that question to was apathetic yeah about how they felt about their Barbershop experience meanwhile because
they were going to Pro Cuts nothing against Pro Cuts if if you love
Pro Cuts yeah Mazel Tov right but you can’t tell man I’m sorry I got no hair I
could tell like wait what is that a pro cut j-dub that’s a Pro Cut but you know at that time I was also
looking across I’m I’m online and I’m like yeah all right there was very distinctly this
Resurgence of Barbershop culture that was like coming back and you saw these
young guys who were like really leaning into you know the traditional version of
uh The Barbers the barbering craft yeah and I was just like man this is
fascinating I would see these these shops that were popping up um all over the United States
um a lot of you know in in in in in in in Europe it was it was happening to you
just saw that this was like coming yeah meanwhile Fort Worth you know I was sick
Fort Worth is always slow to do what the rest of the world is doing
okay we call it aged with you know uh a little more Essence and you know that
time it was like okay we were I want to say at the time Fort Worth was
sitting at like 18 19 in population I’m just like yo I cannot be the only person that’s like
looking for adult Barbershop to like go to and so um
I just kind of put it in my head you know what I can I want to create the version of the place that
I want to go to yeah um and hop on the wave what I felt like
was just very clearly coming and particularly coming to a city that was um very
um with a very high growth growth rate in terms of population people just literally people moving to town every
single month and so um made the decision to open up a barbershop was the location where it is
now the Montgomery and Lavell it’s the best location by the way yeah you nailed it by the way because everybody Drives
By it’s a it’s a pinnacle of traffic right there off the highway but it’s yeah I found this found this old
building it’s an old garage yeah and I think back in the day it was built in
1949 I think it had been like a Dispatch Center like ambulance or fire or something and um I remember walking in
for the first time and being like man I could see these garage doors up like I could just I could see did it have a
smell like you could cut well at that time before we opened up it smelled like an old dingy garage yeah but there’s
sometimes something’s good about that you know but yeah no man it was definitely it felt it felt like this
place has another life within it and so um that’s what we we reimagined it as as
a barber shop yeah so when you did that though did you were you like did like you’re in
marketing like do you know how to go get a lease and do all these things or is that like learning on the Fly kind of man that was it was an education you
know and it was leaning into um the relationships with people that I
knew here in Fort Worth who had done it before and asking questions and you know
putting together a performer like all these all these um
these steps that for me I just enjoy because it’s like it’s more fun
than school yeah yeah and um that was that was an education was there fear of like the thing failing
like was there anything in the back of the mind saying like man this is my vision on the way this is but maybe everybody doesn’t see it or yeah I’m
saying that I’m asking that kind of in a weird way because it appears guys like you don’t have a lot of fear uh to me
and that’s what I’ve lived and die by no it um
it felt like a really safe bet yeah you know when I when I just thought
about it from the standpoint I’m like okay I I cannot be the only person searching
for a barber shop and so so going back to like that digital marketing background
I was like well is there what are people searching for when they’re looking for a barber shop at the time you know
you know optimizing for location on Google was you know part of what I was doing day to day and helping these
businesses do and so it’s like nobody’s caught their Barbershop forward barbershop in the history of Fort Worth yeah we’re gonna call this from Fort
Worth Barbershop yeah people who are looking for a barber shop on Fort Worth very much I hope that the Google The
Google will will catch on to that and yeah um you know if nothing else we’re gonna make ourselves just you know really
discoverable and that was one of my goals from the from the from the front end was um you know I think that we can you know
attract an audience but if if there’s one thing that we’re gonna do is we’re going to make ourselves discoverable not
that we’re gonna be for everybody yeah I want people to be able to see you so when you think about the location like
the physical location of the space it being in the high traffic area and thinking about
um how we optimize for online and making sure that people who are searching for the exact service that we we deliver
would find us yeah that was really important yeah from the from the jump eight years in business now things are
good things are good how many Barbers I’ve got six Barbers got six chairs six Barbers right now
um one of uh one of my Barbers is about to take off on his own and open up his own shop here pretty soon is that good
or bad it’s a good thing yeah I think it’s a great thing I think it’s a great thing man I am I’m really
excited for but here’s the way I look at it man like I’m an entrepreneur I’m a
dreamer I’ve got ideas and I am keenly aware that other people do also yeah you
know and so if I can uh if I can create a um
uh a launching pad for other people I think about so this is what I say like if if my dreams my ideas can be a
launching pan a launching pad for other people’s dreams and ideas I think that I can sustain
um what I want to do by um helping other people yeah what’s the
craziest day you ever had eight years at the barbershop anything come to mind I remember just for the sake of today
being the eight year anniversary of 400 barber shop so we opened up at at
um at 10 o’clock on October the 7th 2014.
I’m there we got one Barber I have my shop manager my mom is there just like
hanging out for the day so I came that day and like hung out the barbershop all day long our moms are big fans too of us
and right around 9 30 this car like broke down like right in
the front of our building right in the walkway essentially of of of of Fort
Worth Barber Shop um it was it was three people there in this car and it just broke down and that
was the first thing that my you know first couple of customers saw as it walked through the door and you know I
think that in a lot of ways that was a a preparation for you know
this entrepreneurship game like you never know what’s going to happen and you’re probably not going to go the way that in your head is planned and the way
that you you thought uh it would go and so that’s been um that’s been the case ever ever yeah hey so when you own a
barbershop that like I noticed your hair is looking pretty good like do you always have to have it like do you
always think of that like man I gotta represent This and like if my hair is out of place like if you don’t say my
hair looks good that’s not that’s not cool because you don’t own a barber shop man I guess so well I haven’t had a haircut in a while but I get my beard
trim pretty pretty regular yeah I actually need a beard trim right now yeah gnarly right now but
um I I am not only uh the owner of the barbershop but I am also very much a a
client I am I just love I love I always love barbershops yeah it’s a cool cool
super cool Vibe okay so four years after you open that I don’t know if the the timing of this on winds up the way I’m
speaking but you and a guy named Alan Maderos Allen so I don’t think he’s related to Glenn Maderos I’m guessing
right he’s not a musical musically inclined guy but um you and Alan create this company called memo Hospitality
which probably doesn’t resonate with a lot of people but the reason that it does is because Hotel drys was born out
of this relationship with you and Alan uh how did Hotel Drive I know a little bit about the history of this building
it was a dry ice plant closed down for many years you resurrected that sucker
in boy is it a Cool vibe that thing place two yeah where did the name come from no I’m just kidding I just I tell
you what a lot of people don’t connect that dogs were don’t connect it so yeah so back in 2018 summer 2018
um I was out at a bar on the south side and ran into
Alan who I’ve known for a while um uh our wives actually both used to
work together in um non-development non-development non-uh nonprofit world and
um I was like you know what are you what are you what are you up to now it’s like you know I’ve got the the barbershop is
going well and at the time I had a a small retail store called the lottery over in The Foundry District said you
know things are going well but you know I’m I really want to do something new like I really am starting to like get
this itch to like do something else and we’re you know we’re just hanging out he’s like what are you what do you think
about what have you thought about like man I have always had this idea to do a
small hotel and um Alan was like it’s funny you say
that because I literally just got back he had just gotten back from this small hotel in in uh Jacksonville Beach
Florida um where his sister had gotten married he was like man we saved this really cool hotel small independent
we don’t have anything like that and so I was like let’s let’s talk about it
like let’s let’s figure out is this even viable like we don’t like you know where
what how much like we didn’t have a sense you know what I mean so um we got together like that next week
at the gingermen which I randomly’s where new hotel is
yes being developed right now also boy they locked the Earth off right there underneath that place too we got together for a beer over at the
gingermen and we just started talking about like um you know what could this be and number
one you know I think the thing that we both decided on really quickly is that this idea of you know thinking about an
independent Hotel thinking about something that felt um more intimate and uh more bespoke than you know your your
Big Brand yeah uh like Flagship type hotels um it didn’t exist in Fort Worth in the
way that in the way that um we as Travelers look for when we are when we’re in other cities and you know
I want I wanted a way to Express to people like
how I saw Fort Worth and what it was that was special about this city and this community uh in in in a want to be
able to present that in a really authentic authentic way and so
we uh like hot like that next week like hopped on Loop net I’m looking at like just
seeing the inventory because I was looking to see if there was like maybe like an old motor cord or something that was you know uh on the market and
didn’t see anything actually I did see a couple things but nothing that really struck my fancy you know and yeah I’m
driving down the street one man and at the time I lived over in Arlington Heights um right just adjacent from the
Cultural District I’m driving down the street and I realized that the old dry ice building that I’ve been driving past
for years had a for sale sign up on it you take that away to the barbershop to
go like sometime down that street yeah and so I and it’s also right next door
to uh art gallery that yeah freaking a lot and so I am looking at this building
I’m like pull over to the side I’m like man it has this this old school look it almost kind of kind of sits up on its
heel it’s like man it almost kind of feels like old like Motel kind of a Vibe
look and so um I caught the like the broker and I was like should I take a look at
this this dry ice yeah warehouse and so I go look at it I caught up out like the next week or
the next same day and I was like let’s come look at this and so we get together
we look at it and we’re just kind of both just kind of seeing like the division and and not to mention you know
not only is this this piece of property on the market but Dickey’s Arena at the
time was really getting really close to completion construction completion and
so you know I’m just thinking to myself I’m like yo there in terms of accommodations yeah
there is nothing in to walk through you know mild radius of that building that
14 000 people at a time are going to be coming to and they got to pay their bills they got to fill up those seats
where are people going to stay when they’re when they’re coming to town and so that that that felt really really
good in terms of location yeah um and so um Allen I we formed an entity uh and we
uh uh we we form an entity how much we
were going to meet to uh to buy the building and we we um we bought the the
property and then from there went through a whole rezoning CD gave you a
hard time I’ve read before yeah well he was to the first to Market that’s not the way the pecking order goes my friend
right right it was um you know it was uh it was a challenge but also in education
you know I I never like gone down to City Hall in like
spoken you know yeah um and you know that was a that was a part
of the process and I’m really glad that it was because you know during that time
that really allowed me to see just like how like how how powerful like
Community can be when they come together and people come together and say hey like we want to see things like this and
I think that you know in that instance you know I’m I might have been you know waving the flag but I
think that it just kind of represented um what a lot of people feel is that like they want to see entrepreneurship
they want to see small business they want to see ideas that are maybe different than you know the status quo
yeah be pushed forward and um just seeing the amount of support that we had come out of that was it was encouraging
right for for me uh as a first-time developer which I didn’t even realize I
was a developer until uh the the newspaper told me that I was
the developer coming in town I was like oh okay yeah you are definitely a developer sure well I think it’s an
awesome story though because if you think about just all of where that location is you being the guy like
there’s just so much of it that like kind of come first to Market you know I mean you’re like the man I said the W
one time when I was going to a concert at the uh yeah and it was it’s an awesome experience because you’re like I
can just walk there it’s just such a I will stay for the Encore I don’t have to get out of here because of the traffic
you know so it’s a good question like so he has you have 21 rooms uh one of the things there are a couple things that
are appealing to the general public but you arrive and you give them I think a lone
star beers that one of the welcoming gifts which I thought was super cool welcome to Texas baby you’re obviously
your proximity to Dixie’s Dickies arena is hugely important are you are you slammed on on concert nights is that a
big time that is a huge part of our our business um when there is uh a show happening
across the street and they’re sold out um it’s a good chance that that we will
be tuned so we’re monitoring that Canada calendar uh religiously nice um and as um you know shows are
announced that’s um that’s driving that’s driving a a good a good portion of our business what’s your cheapest
room we have our our practicals which start um at 1 19 and a nice Triple A rate
but it’s um it’s um you know we wanted to we wanted something that was
um affordable yeah when it’s something that was cool we wanted something that that said something maybe a little bit
different than um a lot of you know what you see in in Fort Worth typically but at the same
time we wanted to make sure that it was very authentic um to um to who we are as a city
um and uh and we feel like as as locals we have the ability to um tell that story better than better
than anyone you’ve accomplished all those things and even probably the I don’t know if it’s the best part it’s the best part for a lot of us we go
there just to have a drink because the bar uh area you have an incredible setup it’s become almost the go-to place for
people to have a before dinner drink or you know this but I love okay so I love
a Lobby Bar like that yeah like yeah a Lobby Bar like a lot of love bar to me it tells me it gives me a sense of place
it tells me where I am and if we can create like one of our biggest
um you know kind of I want to say strategic but just like what we wanted to create just on a heart level is
a place where locals want to be because to me I think that whenever when I’m
traveling when I walk into a space particularly a hotel if locals are there that tells me
something true about the city it gives me something true about where I’m it’s not manufactured as you know a
caricature of you know what you think the city is supposed to be or or look like
um and I think that there’s just something really special about the intersection of locals people who really
live it work it are here and people who are traveling here and if we can if we
can bring people together in in a shared space you know it’s crazy you say that
because like immediately what comes to mind Stephen F Austin down in Austin right like just like the hotel there
because that’s where that’s exactly what happens and you go there even if you’re not that didn’t come to mind to me at
all but just making sure you knew that well what did it make you think of uh did he even make you think of a Lobby
Bar because I think there’s a there’s something about the people who are staying there are super happy right
because they’re like steps away from their room and it’s the place they’re starting the evening or ending it I mean
there’s just another like it you have a really good point in that you know Bobby bar thing one of the things that I guess
I didn’t realize would happen as much as it does but is it’s really special to me
personally is you know we get to be for a lot of people the very first impression that they have
before Texas yeah I’ve met so many people um at the hotel that are checking in and
it’s the first time they’ve been to Fort Worth or for some people the first time they’ve ever been to Texas right and we
get to be a part of um that initial perception yeah that
initial um you know those those those those sensory triggers that are telling that
are informing you know okay where am I what is this place what are the people like what is it what is you know how do
they think about design how do they think about um the way this what how does this place smell like what are the drinks like what
is the food like like those are all things that like I think once once you make that
impression that’s stuck that’s sticky and you go back to
uh LA or you go back to Oklahoma or you go back to wherever and that’s your
impression of this yeah I don’t think I don’t think they put the kind of thought you’re talking about in some of the places uh in Amarillo on the way up
to Colorado on some of those hotels I mean just the aesthetic that you just created it’s like I don’t think that
they put this together here we’re here for 12 hours you know what and you know and you know what and that is so fine
for so many people for sure but I just think that there’s a lot of people who travel in the way that I do like they
want to yeah feel connected to where they are have you met some cool people some people you’ve never met prior that
come to the hotel who are some of these people if you mind me asking man like oh
so so many people like in the last year I have met some people from so many different places
um a lot of artists um you know being our proximity to
uh the the Museum District being over in the culture District um a lot of time people who are either
in town to go to the museums we’ve had several artists who are um in exhibits at the museums and so
people that have um you know these very you know these vast World experiences Super Creative
super talented people have literally like literally all walks of life you
know not to mention you know the the rodeo like last you know last January is our first you know rodeo in business and
so you see you know these Cowboys people come from their ranches in the middle of
oh yeah wherever and they’re dressed to the nines and they’re they’re going to the show and they’re hanging out in the
lobby bar and they’re they’re meeting Fort worthians you know um and that to me is it’s just really
it’s really special and so if we can if we can create an atmosphere that
facilitates um you know you know those serendipitous you know
you know interactions and even relationships that are formed I just think that that’s really it’s how it’s
supposed to be really funny any any cross promotion like uh Barbershop coupon on some of the tables or we have
you know what I want to do though I do want to do like I have not I said I wanted to do this but I haven’t done it yet I want to do like a pop-up at a
barber shop pop-up like at the at the hotel yeah like get your get your hair because I was thinking Brittany you
probably won’t be invited it’s okay but some of those cowboys like you know you’re looking really good but you’re
looking a little overdue on the haircut
Jonathan you made if we don’t we’ll get to the end of this part of the of the interview but you made the news not too
long ago because of uh the hotel and the in subsequent Lobby somebody visited you
um and had maybe an interaction with you that wasn’t pleasant can we speak about that a little bit what can you tell us
because uh there’s some there’s a lot of things being said about the subsequent person that uh aren’t maybe so pleasant
all the time but you you spoke out of business and obviously a lot of people followed you in that regard and felt uh
compelled to speak up on your behalf yeah you know so that particularly well played that’s
a good way of asking a particular incident that happened at the bar actually was not there that evenings
last last year um here’s here’s here’s what I’ll say about that I I have an an obligation to
create um a work environment for
um people who are entrusting me to um create an environment where they come
to work and earn a living that is is safe and they’re able to feel
um supported and be able to come into work and walk out of work with their
dignity intact sounds fair um that that sounds fair to me that’s you know I’ve
I’ve worked for people before and I I would want that as well and so
um I just I just felt like that being undermined I just don’t
I don’t subscribe to you know some people are uh Beyond being
um called out for behavior that is seemingly regular and seemingly
um tolerate it um you know I want to create an a an
environment where everyone is is welcomed um and everyone is welcome
um in any of the spaces that I create but um we got like a couple rules
um and we’re going to to treat you with respect um and dignity
and we really appreciate it if if you would if you would do the same yeah in
in the meantime I’ve got a team of people who uh you know
this this this dream of mine to open up a hotel they have decided to attach
their own hopes dreams desires livelihoods to that thing
um and you know I’m I’m gonna support them in
in that endeavor for um for riding with me on this this this this this journey beautiful beautiful
response and you know we know no no dogs are allowed so we’ll keep it true we love we love dogs I love dogs I love my
but in a bar maybe not so great you know some some bars let it let it happen yeah
we just got a couple rules now let’s flip forward a little bit to some really interesting stuff uh one and I want to
believe this is the way it happened I’m sure it’s not exactly as as uh fairy tale in as it sounds but you get a phone
call from a very lovely lady named Joanna Gaines and I’m sure that here are
some other factors in there and she had somehow come up come across Jonathan Morris he liked his cool demeanor cool
smooth demeanor and she decided that she wanted him to come work at Magnolia Network yeah is that about how it
happened or is it a lot more choppy God man it was a lot there was a there’s a global pandemic in the mix of there yeah
yeah you know so how how would it kind of went down my relationship with with
Magnolia um a good friend of mine Red Sanders red productions here in Fort Worth I’ve
known red since back in my agency days and um and we’ve um
uh we’ve worked together done you know stuff with the barbershop together over the years and just have been close
friends and he calls me um back in
2019. it’s like like summer 2019 it’s like hey
um I was down in Waco and we’ve been having these conversations
um I don’t know if you’ve heard this or not but you know chip and Joanna Gaines Magnolia they’re launching their own
television network all right cool you know what does that have to do with me
well you know through the course of these conversations um uh read his production company
they’re kind of pitching different show ideas and within the conversation that they had
um Reddit showed them this video that I was um that I was featured in it was this
campaign that visited Fort Worth put on called Fort Worth stories and in that uh
campaign it’s like a two three minute video and I was just kind of talking about you know the barber shop and you
know what this you know Fort Worth community means to to to to to
um to me as a small business owner and what we’re looking to create and that little
video um the people at Magnolia liked it and at some point uh Joanna Gaines liked it
and we started creating a television show and
um that the show what the show ended up being is um uh called self-employed and
um self-employed is um I’m I’m the host of the show and which by the way I’ve never done like
television before um but um they I think that they just wanted
someone who was actually you know a small business owner and to to help tell that tell the the stories of other
small business owners so I um gone around the country and met other entrepreneurs and learned about their
stories kind of the the the origin stories of their businesses where they are and and where they’re looking to go
with their businesses and and I’ll tell you we so we we shot the the first season in 2021 and
um it was it was just number one just an incredible experience to get to travel go different places meet people learn
about their stories and it was just super inspiring for for for me
to kind of hear um you know the why behind you know what what is what motivates these real people
to um you know pursue their their dreams and become self-employed and you know
work working for themselves and but also at the same time building Community around their teams and and and
the people uh that that live and work around them so do you find a lot of similarities between your story and
theirs a lot a lot and you know some more than some more than more than others yeah
um but I think that the trend line the thing that I
I kind of saw and everyone was you know
these entrepreneurs have put a lot on the line and
people are entrusting them you know yeah and
whether it be their their family whether it be their you know the teams that they
built within their businesses um their clients you know yeah it is
um really inspiring to see you know just what the sacrifices that a lot of these
men and women have have put forward to pursue their dreams and you know I got
to just I took I told the production people like look y’all like I’m not an actor like I can’t like get on your butt
like if you want me to just have these open honest conversations with people uh you guys capture it on
camera and we’ll see what we’ll see what happens and they allow they really allow for me um to do just that and so I I feel
really happy with the way that the show is is is turned out and I’ve got a lot
of great feedback from people it’s a really cool show Jonathan I used to tune in just to see Joanne again obviously I
mean she’s she’s awesome and does but now it’s your show is incredible I’ve seen a bunch of them and doing a great job and I commend you on that so thank
you it is you’re there’s no better person to do what you’re doing than you because you obviously been there done that with all these things and these
people you’re referring to it’s it’s a cool Dynamic going back and forth so I suspect that chip Adriana are very
pleased with the progress they’re making they’re awesome and people ask me like you know how are they like she’s as nice
as she is she appears to be sweet people and every single person that on every
interaction that I’ve had with them has just been they’ve been so supportive um and encouraging and everybody that I
I know that works with them on a regular basis directly they all say the same thing but it’s just good good folks yeah
absolutely well we’ve heard the same about you and your wife yeah in this town so uh Cherry coffee my friend yes
yeah Cat music run that bad boy so Catherine
runs true okay I drink Cherry coffee yeah but yeah no she she opened up on
her her coffee shop last year um and um it is it’s it’s going really
well and she’s she’s building Community there on that that corner over on Magnolia on the south side and
um it’s been I’m really really proud of of what she’s doing and and specifically the way that she is
um you know empowering this team of Baristas to
um you know we have a lot of autonomy over their jobs and giving them this this the um roles that I think are going
to really serve these um young people really really well in their career and so she’s uh she’s a great she’s a great
leader dogs allowed in the coffee shop no no unfortunately unfortunately sorry
I had it’s all right Jonathan so as we wrapped up this interview um we appreciate the time would you what
would you say to those young people out there the entrepreneur types that might hear this or feel the way you feel about
General world and business what advice would you give to people like that is if any yeah you know I I would say
it’s really easy to to think that you’ll wait for the
perfect time for all the stars to align to be ready to pursue whatever that idea
whatever that dream is that you that you have in um you know I gotta tell you I just
don’t think that that time comes it’s a matter of in my experience at least it’s jumping in and learning as you go and
and not being afraid um of the on of the unknown um because you know a lot of times what
is on the other side of the unknown um can be a lot of success on the way
there will be growing pains and there will be a lot to learn but I think that if you are committed to
um striving for greatness day after day and being better tomorrow than you uh
than you were today um entrepreneurship but it’s not for everybody you know what I mean but I
think that um if it’s if it’s um if it’s tugging at your soul
um and you have an idea and there’s something that you want to present to the world um I think it’s important to to get it
out and guess what it may not work yeah but um I’m just a big believer in getting
your ideas out of you yeah and um presenting them to the world excellent
that’s great what about future what’s in the future for Jonathan Morris I don’t know you know next hotel next what you
know like I always ask me what’s next what’s next and honest jaded like this
is the first time in 10 years of my life that I haven’t like been like actively working on like the next thing like your
next business the next freaking construction project or whatever and
it feels really nice um so I guess to say what’s what’s next is really just fostering
um you know these these ideas of businesses that have
um had the great pleasure of being a steward over um and continue to create
um spaces that people are uh people still seeing people feel included um people get to experience you know the
best of of Fort Worth uh through uh in my eyes yeah well you’re you’re a great
story you’re you’re proof that if you want something bad enough want to put in the work you can get it done and you can do it by being a nice guy you don’t have
to be a freaking shark to get something yeah you can be a nice dude to get stuff done yeah so we end the show always like
with this but no family stuff but uh we we always ask folks and thank you again for being here because you have shared
best day of your life no family stuff though everybody’s
skirts around there well it’s not familiar but it’s the day my child was born like we can’t
get the hotel open what does everybody sound like the generic white dude voice best day you know
I remember I remember the day that
I went to City Hall and presented to shitty Hall and won a unanimous vote for
them essentially to allow us to have zoning change to make the hotel happen
and the reason why that that day stands out to me yeah is
because it was like this this overwhelming sense of
yes you have this idea yes you have a dream but like you don’t have to do it alone
you have the support of of Family Friends Community around you
um and that’s one of those those moments that I will never never forget walking out of City Hall and just dozens of
people that were just so supportive of this you know little idea of mine but I
hope I hope ultimately um
can Inspire other people yeah to whatever their dream is whatever their idea is that like building Community
around that um a lot of times can push things into into realities yeah that’s super cool I
can see you smile we’re both smiling because that’s it’s cool and we can we can understand what you mean that’s awesome well thank you for being here my
man you’re it’s you’re lovely to be around every time I see you we appreciate you very much thank you thank you Captain thanks Jonathan for making
it appreciate it you can find them at hotel drys uh the forward Barber Shop he’s on self-employed the Magnolia
Network and he’s drinking coffee probably every morning at Cherry coffee yeah thanks for being around my man I
appreciate you thank you thank you you like that exit music