Alumni member, Jarrell Williams, has a bad case of the munchies. So bad, in fact, that he wanted to create a whole business out of it! Every once in a while, Jarrell would get together with some friends and talk burgers. Big burgers, sliders, burgers of all flavors and types. He would also cook a myriad of different types of burgers so his friends and family would try them — even recipes he made himself! With the kitchen being his original destination, Jarrell started Nomarama, but like most entrepreneurs know: a good business is built by you, and a great business has a life of its own.
“It’s a lot of work to work in a kitchen, and I am not cut out for it personally,” Jarrell willingly admitted. “And I realized there’s a lot of other people out there doing really great things with burgers, and I figured instead of making them I wanted to just go find them. And I’m going to take pictures of them and post them on my social media… that sounds fun.”
Suddenly, Nomarama evolved from a burger pop-up headed toward the restaurant life, into a spotlight that points the public toward quality local food.
Jarrell’s passion for community support has followed him since childhood. Jarrell’s father owned an urban clothing store in Northern Virginia which allowed Jarrell to get immersed in the small business world from a young age. It wasn’t until he left for college that he realized every location has its own unique environment. His father’s store, traveling, and now Nomarama has redefined his love for local business.
Thus far, Nomarama has hosted several successful slider competitions at O’Connor’s Brewing Co., kitchen takeover pop-ups, two munchie markets, and more food-related events that bring people together and showcase local restaurants. With all this under the Nomarama belt, we decided to ask a pro like Jarrell some questions about the local mindset:
If I can get food, clothes, and other services from large corporations and franchises. Why should I support local businesses?
“You should support local businesses because these are individuals who live where you live, and at the end of the day, one of these businesses is someone’s dream. Their passion. And when you patronize a local business, you’re not only getting a good service or a great product, you’re helping someone in further achieving their goal, and 9 times out of 10, the money is going to be going toward their family. Toward their child’s soccer lessons, or maybe a washer or dryer as opposed to another beach home in Maui or a private jet. Additionally, these individuals that are going into business for themselves put their heart and soul into it. When you walk in, they give you more of a personal experience because they want to start a relationship so you’ll come back, tell your friends, and become part of their family in essence.”
I want to support the local business community, but where do I start??
“Start by going to the local city website. That’s the best place to go to see what’s around. When a city puts on a block party, typically speaking, this isn’t a hundred percent true all the time but, they typically bring in vendors who are local to that area. So if you go to an event that is put on by the city, they’re reaching out to vendors who live in that area, and they’re going to be setting up there so you can actually introduce yourself to brands and businesses.”
What are some things you want to see happen in the ViBe Creative District in relation to local love?
“I would like to see the city of Virginia Beach really start to focus on what the ViBe has to offer. Like the art festival that happens on the boardwalk regularly, I’ve gone to those a couple times the past few years and I’ve seen brands like, ‘Joe’s Concessions”* that you would see at a carnival in Florida. Well, we could have quite a few business owners that you could reach out to and ask them to be vendors at these kinds of events. I’d like to see some directions or maps from the boardwalk, directing tourist and guests to come check out the ViBe district because it, in my eyes, is the coolest part of the Virginia Beach area!”
Nomarama continues to do cool things in the area that you can find out about through Facebook and Instagram. Make sure to watch their first episode of This Is Nomarama “The Series” on YouTube and their website. Stay local everyone!