Small Businessperson of the Year finalist: 5 questions with Erik Johnson and Jay Levell, partners at White Point Partners

Small Businessperson of the Year finalist: 5 questions with Erik Johnson and Jay Levell, partners at White Point Partners
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Our inaugural Small Businessperson of the Year award is proudly presented by the Small Business Center at CPCC, assisting more than 2,500 startup entrepreneurs and small business owners annually through networking events, free seminars, no-cost counseling, a business resource library, and tuition-based and non-degree courses.


Charlotte sometimes get a reputation for uninspired development — cookie-cutter apartments or strip malls. But then there are the projects that are breaking the mold and transforming our city.

You can thank Erik Johnson and Jay Levell at White Point Partners for many of them.

Their company, founded in 2014, is behind several of the most innovative infill and adaptive reuse projects underway in our city.

Tompkins Hall is perhaps the best known — bringing Charlotte’s version of New York City’s Chelsea Market or Atlanta’s Krog Street Market to an old textile mill in Optimist Park.

Duke Energy will put an innovation lab in its office space, and the rest will be filled with filled with tenants like breweries, coffee shop and restaurants.

food-hall-complex-at-tompkins-hall

Image via White Point Partners and Urban Design Partners. Renderings by Perkins+Will.

White Point Partners is also behind Queen Park Social and the Bowers building upfit in Lower South End, and a number of properties on Commonwealth Avenue in Plaza Midwood.

All that led Johnson and Levell to be named the finalists for our Small Businessperson of the Year award in the Real Estate category.

Get to know Erik Johnson and Jay Levell better and learn from their success with these five questions. Responses have been edited for space and clarity.

What’s the first hour of your day look like?

Erik: Read the paper and workout or send emails/do busy work.

Jay: Assuming you mean after I leave the serenity of our 4- and 2.5-year-old boys waking up, then it is sending emails out, and then hitting the most important things on the list before meetings/calls start.

What’s the most valuable business lesson you’ve learned?

Erik: If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.

Jay: Operate with transparency and integrity.

What’s a recent purchase of less than $100 that you love?

Erik: Apple Pencil

Jay: The Chicken Torta from Rhino Market.

What’s the best book you’ve read in the past year?

Jay: “The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill,” by William Manchester. And “The Gruffalo“.

What other small businessperson do you admire?

Erik: Jeremy and Lila Stewart of Hari Mari, a Dallas-based flip flop company.

JayNiall Hanley, of Hibernian Hospitality.

 

Photos by Lauren Rosenau Photography 

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