Great small business owners treasure first-hand knowledge of their community’s needs. But few value community quite like JoDonna Hall Ward.
JoDonna grew up in Navajo Country in the small town of Kayenta, Arizona. After her mother’s passing, JoDonna moved back home to keep alive her mother’s legacy: three small businesses in the heart of town, including a gas station, a laundromat, and a diner.
“I do everything. I’m the maintenance man, I’m the accountant, I’m the waitress, I’m the gas attendant, I’m trying to learn how to fix washing machines—that’s my day,” JoDonna says with a laugh.
Running a small business on the reservation comes with unique challenges. Large franchises mean more tourist dollars for the Navajo nation, and locally-owned businesses are met with resistance. That resistance hasn’t stopped JoDonna, though. She employs a full-time staff, pays benefits, and does everything she can to feed dollars back into the community.
“Have that respect for the community first,” she says. “If you can do that, you’ll always stay in business. That’s my philosophy.”
Peek inside a day in the life of JoDonna, and you’ll see the incredible impact this small business owner has had on her home.