Gretta Jackson has become a symbol of hope for many Black women and other women of color in Roseville, Michigan. Her entrepreneurial journey has attracted applause and praises.
Jackson worked as a part-time waitress at an Outback Steakhouse restaurant for nearly 20 years. She is now a franchise owner of the company in Roseville. What is more, she is the first Black woman to own an Outback Steakhouse in the Detroit area.
Jackson became a mother in her first semester in college when she was only 18 years. She needed to provide for her baby, Ashley and so she decided to take up a second part-time job at Outback SteakHouse in Southfield. “I made these decisions and choices and have to live with them but how, at 18, am I going to pull this off?” she said, according to Fox 2 Detroit.
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Jackson said she did not allow her situation to destruct her from pursuing her education and aiming to be at the top of the corporate world. “Don’t let other people tell you what you can’t do because of your situation. Show them what you can do in spite of your situation,” she said.
She recalled the tough times she endured, such as missing her birthdays in the past two decades. Today, she is the first woman of color to open an Outback SteakHouse in downtown Detroit.
“What started off as what I thought was just a simple post to celebrate a milestone in my life quickly turned into something else,” Jackson told Fox2Detroit. “I could never imagined so many people would come to say hi and thank you and congratulations to me in person. I’ve had people send gifts, flowers, Edible Arrangements to the restaurant for me. Just an overwhelming amount of love and support.”
Jackson is content with what she has achieved for herself. She is glad she has become a source of inspiration not only for her daughter but for other Black women who want to be franchise owners or start their own enterprise. “(She thinks) If my mom can own her own outback there is nothing she can’t do,” Jackson said of her daughter.
It has been thrilling to have Black people owning well-to-do businesses across the world despite the unfair political attacks they tend to face in many jurisdictions. In the U.S., the more than 40 million Black population is making serious waves in various sectors of the American economy – healthcare, entertainment, business, sports, and technology – and are generating revenue and creating jobs.
These successes were chalked even in the face of hurdles such as access to capital to fund and operate the business due to years of racial and economic discrimination.