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Entrepreneur Starts a Pimento Cheese Business Thanks to Jeopardy! Winnings

Entrepreneur Starts a Pimento Cheese Business Thanks to Jeopardy! Winnings

Published: Mar 14, 2024
by Annie Pilon
In Small Business News

Startup money for a new business can come from anywhere. Most businesses get it from a bank loan, personal savings, or family and friends. But one North Carolina entrepreneur launched his dream venture with money from Jeopardy!.

John Morgan is the owner of Queen City Charlotte’s Pimento Cheese Royale, a family-owned business out of Charlotte, North Carolina that produces packaged pimiento cheese in various flavors. The company launched in 2014, shortly after Morgan’s appearance on Jeopardy! in January 2013.

An elementary school teacher at the time, Morgan had the most money of the three contestants going into the Final Jeopardy round. However, he missed the last question and had to settle for second place. Luckily, the $2,000 awarded to the second-place contestant was still enough to cover a new mixer that he needed to start his dream pimiento cheese venture.

The winnings provided just one piece of the puzzle, of course. Morgan already had the idea and many of the other business elements in place. In fact, he even mentioned his plan for the winnings when he auditioned for the popular game show.

Morgan told told North Carolina’s Fox 8 recently, “’Jeopardy!’ was an amazing genesis of our story but it was just a start. Everything else has been very much about just hard work.”

Now, more than 10 years into his business story, Morgan and others know that it takes many elements to come together to launch and run a business successfully. It’s not as if every entrepreneur can rely on game show winnings to fund their operations. But it does show that businesses can get creative to fill a need, whether it’s funding or any other element of business ownership. And sometimes, even unexpected opportunities like appearing on Jeopardy! can make a huge difference.

Image: Sony

Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

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