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JAX Chamber names Lakita Spann of Mr. Potato Spread Overall Small Business Leader of the Year

February 15th, 2024 · Leave a Comment

Lakita Spann, co-founder of Mr. Potato Spread has been named 2024 Overall Small Business Leader of the Year. 

The 11 Northeast Florida business leaders were selected for the honor by the Chamber Councils, the Beaches Division, NextUp JAX, and Venture Services. All individual winners were recognized Wednesday at the Small Business Breakfast presented by TD Bank at the Adam W. Herbert University Center.

Founded in 2014, Mr. Potato Spread had its beginnings as a deliver-only catering company. Over the years, the catering company introduced their food truck in 2016 and, eventually, the opening of their first brick-and-mortar location just a few years after. The company has locations at the Orange Park Mall Food Court and River City Marketplace, along with its food truck and catering services.

“Our journey began with personal savings and a 401(K), a leap of faith underpinned by a clear vision.” Spann said. “Balancing my corporate job between 2014-2016, I leveraged my experience to market our business through word-of-mouth, email, and social media. This dual focus allowed us to grow a robust following, ready and eager for our food truck launch.” 

Born and raised in Jacksonville, Spann’s work ethic was notable from the start, working to ensure stability for her and her family.

“Securing my first job at 15 was more than a milestone; it was a declaration of independence and a step towards altering our family’s narrative,” Spann said. “My journey wasn’t just about overcoming personal hurdles; it was about laying a foundation for a better future”. 

The growing business not only values serving quality food to the Jacksonville community, but also stresses the importance of creating a workplace where employees can flourish professionally and personally. Dedicating itself to breaking fast-food industry norms, Mr. Potato Spread shows consistent appreciation of the team’s efforts and exceeds the minimum wage standard.

“Recognizing hard work is fundamental in our culture.” Spann explained. “This management style has not only been a cornerstone of our success but also a reflection of our commitment to societal change. By prioritizing the needs and aspirations of our employees, we’ve created a thriving community within our workplace.” 

“The drive and dedication Lakita has shown in building and growing her business is an example of the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit that makes our small business community so successful,” said JAX Chamber President and CEO Daniel Davis. “Congratulations to Lakita and all of the Small Business Leaders of the Year who took the leap to start their own companies and are growing jobs in our city.” 

Despite forming a positive work environment, Spann confronted adversities during their expansion, facing market challenges due to COVID-19, and overcoming a devastating kitchen fire. However, those adversities only led to reaching their substantial $1.1 million mark in 2021.

Spann’s journey doesn’t stop there. Securing a business degree from the University of Phoenix and completing programs from The Bank of America Women Entrepreneurship, JAX Bridges, and the Jim Moran Institute of Small Businesses, Spann continues to expand her horizons and leadership skills. Her dedication to entrepreneurship is expressed through her secondary outlet, The Girlfriends Brand, a platform focused on women empowerment.

“My journey is a testament to the power of dedication, hard work, and a commitment to giving back to the community that raised me.” Spann says. “Together, we are writing a new chapter of growth, resilience, and success.” 

In addition to Lakita Spann, the 2024 Small Business Leaders of the Year are:

  • Brandy Lewis, Platinum Realty Group, LLC, Arlington Council
  • Aaron Robles, Innovative Physical Therapy, Beaches Division
  • Jon Singleton, Jonathan David Singleton PA – The Singleton Team, Downtown Council
  • Eric Ross, Two Twelve Benefits, Health Council
  • Summer Vyne, AnuVision Technologies, Inc., Jacksonville IT Council
  • Belkis Plata, Plata Schott Law, LLC, NextUp JAX
  • Gretchen Kornutik, Salt Air Stays Consulting, Professional Women’s Council
  • Dr. Dalton Tolliver, Seven Bridges Chiropractic, LLC, South Council
  • Steph Dale, Go Tuk’n, Inc., Transportation & Logistics Council
  • Priscilla Redd Sparrow, PR Insurance Agency, LLC, Three Rivers Council

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