Lowndes entrepreneur goes above and beyond

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, January 31, 2024

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Being an entrepreneur is not an easy feat, but Lowndesboro native Damaria Johnson understands just what it takes to be successful while maintaining other endeavors. The entrepreneur said that she is proud of how far she has come.

“For the most part, me keeping my faith and knowing that I can do anything that I put my mind to are things that drive me,” Johnson said. “I learned to follow through with things that are in front of me and not worry about whatever is coming because it’ll be there when I get to it.”

Johnson owns several businesses, including one that specializes in selling hair and eyelash extensions. She is one of only five restaurant owners under the age of 20 in Lowndes County and also works in agriculture. 

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Johnson is co-owner of the popular Lowndes County restaurant, the Hwy 80 Cafe in Lowndesboro, where people from all over the county and beyond come to dine.

“The most fulfilling part of it all is seeing the impact I have on people’s lives around me and my ability to bring joy to someone else’s life by just being myself,” Johnson said. “I want all of my businesses to influence the community positively and in the best way they can. I just want to be available to my community since we are already in a place where we barely have any of the opportunities and things that other places do. With me having all of the businesses I have, I feel like I’m a good source for things that the community needs.” 

Along with being an entrepreneur, Johnson currently attends the University of Alabama where she majors in nursing. She was among the 13,950 students named to the University of Alabama’s Dean’s List for fall semester 2024. To be placed on this list, individuals must be a student with an academic record of 3.5 or above. 

According to Johnson there is no balance when it comes to her schoolwork, her social life, and her being an entrepreneur, but she likes to go with the flow of things. 

“Honestly when stuff has to be done then it has to be done,” Johnson said. “There is no way of trying to plan things because everything doesn’t go accordingly all the time and when things happen, I have learned to accept it and keep going.”

Johnson encourages anyone that wants to be an entrepreneur to go for it and believes anything is possible, even in a small community like Lowndes County. 

Johnson’s dedication to hard work is evident in her actions, consistently leaving a lasting impact on the community. 

Dalisa Bennet, a friend of Johnson’s, highlighted the entrepreneur’s unique and varied skill set that sets her apart from others in the crowd.

“Damaria is very hardworking, a go-getter, and a quick learner. Whatever you need her to do she will do it. She’s involved in a lot of things in the community as well as in school and she is insanely smart,” Bennet said. “When it comes to being an entrepreneur Damaria is amazing. Every weekend she comes home from Tuscaloosa after school so that she can help things run smoothly at her family restaurant.” 

The restaurant is located at 222 U.S. Highway 80 Service Rd East in Lowndesboro. The Hwy 80 Cafe is open every Friday from 5p.m. – 12a.m.