Thursday, July 18, 2024

Entrepreneur donates $25K to area arts council

Richard Johnson donated $25,000 to the Pender Arts Council. (Courtesy photo)

PENDER COUNTY — A local businessman behind Burgaw Now has funneled tens of thousands of dollars into his town’s arts council.

Richard Johnson, who owns Penderlea Farms and is behind the renovation of local restaurants in Burgaw, made a $25,000 donation to the Pender Arts Council this week.

“With a connection and passion to support the arts, I wanted to contribute to the local community’s economic, educational, and cultural vitality through the Pender Arts Council,” Johnson stated in a press release.

The money will aid the council in its mission to expand the arts and programming in Burgaw.

“We are grateful for the support of our local arts council,” arts council president Austin Gaskins said in the release. “This funding will allow the arts council to support local artists while integrating more art-related events, activities, programs, and exhibits.”

Johnson moved to Burgaw after purchasing a 500-acre tree farm in 2016. Since, he has launched Own Your Own, a restaurant competition that is helping with the revitalization of the historic town. OYO allows up-and-coming entrepreneurs a chance to own a restaurant with $1 million coming from Johnson to renovate a historic building in Burgaw.

So far Johnson has used the model to launch Fat Daddy’s pizzeria, owned by Jay Kranchalk, and Burgaw Brewing, owned by Kevin and Emmaline Kozak.

The competition for the next restaurant opened in January this year and has received 500 applicants from 26 states.


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Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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