Commissioner encourages DeKalb residents to own their own businesses

DeKalb County’s newest commissioner hopes to change what she considers a lack of economic development in southern and unincorporated portions of the county.

Lorraine Cochran-Johnson, who represents District 7, made development one of her campaign platforms when she ran against incumbent Gregory Adams in the Democratic primary last year.

“Businesses have chosen consciously not to locate within certain areas of DeKalb, so if we want to change the landscape of the businesses within our communities we will need to own more service-oriented businesses and franchises,” Cochran-Johnson said a statement.

A former businesswoman, Cochran-Johnson is hosting a series of events aimed at addressing the issue, starting with a Saturday panel discussion featuring three local franchise and business owners:

Mack Wilbourn is the owner of a fast food management company with franchises including Popeye’s, Checkers, and Edy’s Ice Cream at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. His two Popeye’s locations are the top sales performers for the company worldwide, Cochran-Johnson’s office said.

Sterling Coleman owns several local Zaxby’s locations as president and CEO of SJAC Food Groups. He has over 20 years of business experience.

Yolanda Owens is the president and CEO of iwi Fresh, an Atlanta-based day spa featuring natural, gourmet skincare products.


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The panel is scheduled for this Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon, at AEI Start-Up Factory in Stonecrest.

Attendees at the event can also fill out business interest forms to disclose what they would need to start their own business.

“I’d like to encourage DeKalb residents to become business owners as a way to change the landscape of our communities,” Cochran-Johnson said. “It is my intent to bridge people with resources, education, and information that empowers them to change their lives.”

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