Entrepreneur’s Act of Faith Bred on the Gridiron
Profile of a local sports hero-turned-businessman, Altarik White.
When Mayor Cory A. Booker gave his State of the City speech in February, some of the loudest applause came when he announced something far less dramatic than the drop in the number of murders: a loan to Mr. White from the Brick City Development Corporation that would allow him to open the Subway he had long been planning. Not downtown, where there were already several others, but in a neighborhood where national chains, and foods that haven’t been fried, were in short supply. Mr. White’s Subway opened in April, an act of faith in his city as much as of entrepreneurship.
“In our community, there’s not a lot of healthy places to go — no Whole Foods, no Stop & Shop, just a bunch of Chinese stores, hamburger joints and fried chicken places,” said Mr. White, whose Subway is on the other side of Weequahic Park from the school where he coaches and works as a substance awareness counselor. Next door is Seth Boyden Terrace, a public housing project where a triple shooting took place last year.
“Who’s to say that people, because they live in Seth Boyden, that they don’t deserve good food at an affordable price,” he said. “What I say to people who say, ‘That’s a tough place,’ is, ‘Yeah, well, guess what – it’s a tough world we live in.’”