Triad restaurateur Jim Noble's advice: “Anything good can't be done by one person” – The Business Journals

Triad restaurateur Jim Noble believes chefs are like a three-legged stool. They have three main responsibilities: cook, manage money and lead a team.
Noble, founder and head of Noble Food and Pursuits, said it’s the last responsibility that is the most important.
“Culture is everything,” he said. “You have to set the motion and set the vision for your team.”
Noble spoke about his business and background Thursday night at Greater Winston-Salem Inc.’s Founders Forum. The entrepreneurial event series began in April and consisted of a spotlight of a new startup and a conversation with the founder of a well-established local company.
Noble, a High Point native, began his career in the furniture industry, but upon discovering Julia Child’s famous cookbook, he decided to switch careers and opened his first restaurant in 1983 in High Point.
Many people told him that this French restaurant would fail.
“There’s no new business without risk,” Noble said.
But the restaurant succeeded and Noble has since opened several restaurants through North Carolina, including two in Winston-Salem – Bossy Beulah’s and Rooster’s Wood-Fired Kitchen. Other restaurants of his include Noble Smoke, The Jimmy and The King’s Kitchen in Charlotte.
Among other topics, Noble spoke about being able to give back to the community through the restaurant business. His Charlotte restaurant, The King’s Kitchen, is also a non-profit in which all proceeds go to feeding and job training for those in need.
With two restaurants currently under construction, Noble said that he may open another two or three restaurants throughout the South – perhaps Altana or South Carolina.
Throughout his conversation with Clay Johnson, director of entrepreneurial initiatives for Greater Winston-Salem Inc., Noble kept emphasizing the importance of a strong team.
“I’ll tell you – I’m one guy,” he said. “When we had one restaurant, I couldn’t run it by myself. I needed a team of people. Anything good can’t be done by one person.”
Jenni Earle Hopkins, founder and CEO of Jenni Earle, also spoke at the event, giving a snapshot of what her entrepreneurial journey has looked like.
Founded in 2017, Jenni Earle creates and sells arts and goods with empowering messages to inspire courage and authenticity.
“I really wanted to bring something to the marketplace where I could say, ‘you are so much stronger than you think. What does your dream life look like? It is within reach’,” Hopkins said. “I thought back in my life to what made me feel that way – it was my grandfather’s bandanas.”
Hopkins spoke about the courage her grandfather instilled in her, with his bandanas being a symbol of that bravery.
When she first began making the bandanas in her kitchen, Hopkins said the first batch of 100 sold out.
“I was surprised by how other people resonated with this product,” she said.
Today, Jenni Earle sells more than just bandanas. Current products include bandana slides, beanies, journals, patches and even trophies. Her line is sold at stores around the country and has even been featured at Magnolia and Free People, she said.
Hopkins is a graduate of the Center for Creative Economy’s Velocity Accelerator and is currently a member of Winston Starts. She recently received an undisclosed amount of funding from the Winston-Salem Partners Roundtable Fund and opened a brick-and-mortar location at 717 South Marshall Street.
Her advice to other founders is to let things happen.
“Align with a purpose and let the path unfold,” she said.
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