Being an entrepreneur has always come naturally to Isaac Brennan Horton IV ’11. Between ages nine to 15, he started three different businesses: lawn mowing, janitorial, and entertainment.
Horton put his entrepreneurial dreams on hold to attend UNCG, where he received his BS in economics. After graduating, he took a job at Lenovo but decided he wanted to start his own business. Before he left, he conducted independent research to figure out what kind of small business would be the wisest and most profitable to start.
“For a year, I would come home at around 6:30 to 7:00 p.m., eat dinner, and, from 8:00 to 11:00 p.m., do three hours of due diligence.”
That research paid off when he decided on a food truck; the numbers showed it to have the lowest risk and highest ease of execution levels. With that, Oak City Fish and Chips was born.
Horton’s thought process for opening a food truck was one based on logic, but the business itself is very close to him personally. He describes himself as a foodie and created each of the recipes on the menu himself.
Oak City Fish and Chips is unlike many food trucks in the Raleigh area. Instead of just being open a certain number of times a month for events, Horton’s business is open every day. One of the main reasons for this is because he wants to create jobs.
Horton views his team as more than just employees – they’re people he invests in, too. As a life and career coach, Horton provides free life-coaching services to each member of his staff.
Giving back to the community, especially the one where he grew up, is a value that was instilled in him from childhood. Because of that, Oak City Fish and Chips has participated in the Raleigh Christmas Day Food Giveaway for the past two years, giving away hundreds of meals for those in need. Horton also regularly provides meals to those who can’t afford to pay.
Within the next 90 days, Oak City Fish and Chips will be expanding to two new cities, Charlotte and Los Angeles. Along with this, his staff will grow from eight to 20 members. Looking ahead to as soon as this autumn, Horton plans to build Oak City Fish and Chips’ first standing restaurant. This would make him the only African American to own a restaurant in downtown Raleigh, something that gives him hope for a bright future.