Local, Black-owned catering company built by family of entrepreneurs

CHARLOTTE — Local catering company, Sweet Potato Jones is a family-owned company full of entrepreneurs.

Patrick Jones is a Queen City native, but trying to convince his girlfriend, Carla, originally from Chicago, took creativity.

“We came to visit his family, and he went on a job interview while here,” Carla said.

According to Patrick, he was simply networking -- but it did lead to a career in computer science. Carla became a registered nurse.

While throwing Patrick’s 40th birthday bash, Carla was inspired to turn her passion for parties from a hobby into a side hustle.

“And after that, everyone just kept coming to me and saying, Hey, can you do my party? Can you do my party?” she said.

The endless requests soon gave birth to their event and catering company: Sweet Potato Jones.

“You would see people get instant gratification from the food that they eat,” Amber Jones, Head Chef of Sweet Potato Jones, said. ”So that was what I saw that said I wanna give that same kind of experience through food to people.”

Like her parents, Amber also caters on the side. Her two sibling have also followed suit -- the three have their own businesses.

Patrick ‘PJ’ Jones II is the CEO of Applesauce and Crackers, a pajama clothing line.

“Nothing was really forced on us, everyone just kind of found their own lane,” PJ said.

Ryan Jones owns a braiding hair line called XclusiveLeigh.

“Being able to share their own personal gift, I think that’s what challenged me to find my own space,” Ryan said.

Patrick himself believes those entrepreneurial strands weave through generations of their family.

“My mom and dad – my dad worked hard and my mom stayed home and she was a beautician and he built her a house in the back of the house where she’d do people’s hair,” he said, “I get emotional when I talk about him … because he’s 97 and I see a lot that he’s sacrificed.”

Carla credits Patrick with her move to marry her favorite things: food and entertainment.

“I feel like I get it from Patrick. Patrick is always someone who talks about doing other things,” she said. “So I love entertaining. I love providing for people. It gives me joy. And I realized that a way to marry that would be to do that with food.”

The family says Sweet Potato Jones is now working with Mecklenburg County, making them so busy Carla may be able to join Amber full-time.

“The business has just gone through the roof beyond our ever imagination. And so we’re very grateful for that,” Carla said.

To learn more about Sweet Potato Jones, click here.

(WATCH BELOW: Mallard Creek students showcase their businesses at Buy Black event)

Evan Donovan

Evan Donovan, wsoctv.com

Evan is an anchor and reporter for Channel 9.