Antonio Henry's latest business venture has everyone saying, "why didn't I think of that?!" The artist turned entrepreneur created a mobile convenience store -- Corner Store on Wheels. He launched July of this year to support him financially as he tries to get his music career off the ground. However, the response from his Atlanta community has him (and us) convinced that the endeavor is much more than a temporary tactic.
Because of Them We Can spoke exclusively to Henry to learn how came up with the idea.
“While excelling in the cable world, I met back up with my childhood friend Melvin Bell, who introduced me to the Ice Cream [truck] world. I did that for a couple years until I got tired of being broke throughout the cold months and thought of the corner store idea. I started selling everything that me and all the people wanted when we went to any little hood store near where we stayed,”
Serving as a resource and an example to his community is something Henry is passionate about. He admits he didn’t always take the right path growing up, but he subscribes to the belief that when you know better, you do better. Now, he hopes his story will be proof to people with similar backgrounds that they too can do the same.
“A street person is so much smarter than what they give themselves credit for. We don’t look at what we do as a talent and I want to show people the right way.”
Items on the van include pretty much anything you’d purchase from your local corner store or bodega. Everything from ramen noodles and toilet paper to nachos with cheese, hot dogs, bread, cheese, milk and more.
The van is open 24 hours a day. In Henry's words he drives "to where the volume is and grinds!" The mobile operation has also helped him share his music with more people. And if Master P's model for promoting No Limit Records taught us anything, it's how to recognize a genius when we see one.
Henry got signed to Young Jeezy while he was in college, but the contract didn't pan out to be the right answer to his music dreams. Now, not only will he be able to pursue his dream, but he'll also be able to support himself and his family in the process.
“My whole life, as a kid I have been trying to get to where my business has gotten in six weeks. I was still broke as [an] artist signed to a major record label, but with Corner Store On Wheels, all my Atlanta community has absolutely loved my business and idea, and has supported way past my expectations.”
With locs and tattoos all over his body, including his face, Henry said some of the challenges with his business stem from people judging a book by its cover and assuming that the store is selling more than staple household items. Yet, he continues to persist and prevail. His new found success in business is proof that if you don't like the way your story is turning out, you can turn the page and write another chapter that is better than before.
Stay on the look out, Henry has big plans to expand and is considering franchisees. Either way, a Corner Store on Wheels could roll through your neighborhood soon!