Jeff Olsen

Jeff Olsen

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CHECK IT OUT: Win a million-dollar restaurant

Have you ever wanted to own your own restaurant? What if it came with a $1 million budget to design and build the place of your dreams? Well, that dream is about to come true for one lucky entrepreneur.

A new company called Own Your Own (OYO) is launching a nationwide competition to find the next restaurant owner in Burgaw, North Carolina.


The charming town of Burgaw sits near the North Carolina coast and has been featured in nearly 40 well-known Hollywood films and TV series.

“I fell in love with Burgaw immediately but realized too many of the buildings were empty,” says Richard Johnson, a Wilmington, NC-based entrepreneur. “I set out to help revitalize the downtown commercial district and get more foot traffic to support the local businesses.”

Johnson knows how important a vibrant restaurant scene is to a community. He’s already built two eateries in Burgaw, Fat Daddy’s, a New York-style pizzeria, and Burgaw Brewing Company.

“I guess it’s not every day that someone comes up to you and says, ‘Can I build you a restaurant?'," says Johnson. “But it fits into my business model. I find someone who wants to own a restaurant, build it and hand it over with a reasonable lease. They get their own restaurant, and the town has a new gathering place.”

The idea of launching a competition hit Johnson when he was thinking about concepts for a third restaurant. Johnson says the best part about his model is that it can be used to help other small towns.

“What’s exciting about the OYO competition is that we could replicate this in other small towns that need a spark.”

That’s why he launched, a site where want-to-be entrepreneurs can enter to own their own businesses.

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