Hometown Eats: 9-year-old starts own business during pandemic

Published: Aug. 28, 2020 at 6:52 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - During a summer of firsts, 9-year-old Jamil Jones has been hard at work starting his own business. Despite the ongoing pandemic and one of the hottest summers on record, every afternoon you can find Jamil at the corner of 10th Street and Hunt Avenue selling homemade water ice.

Jamil started the summer with just a cooler. Every day, he sold water, and with the support of the community, started adding to his listings. Recently, the Philadelphia native, along with his father Joseph, started making his own Philadelphia water ice.

“I want him to be better than me. I just want him to be better than me. I want him to reach his potential. That’s important to us,” said Joseph of his son.

Jamil has aspirations of opening a water ice business, and even expanding it to include other Philly staples. He said while other kids have been at home this summer, he’s been working to make his dreams a reality.

“Rain can’t hurt me. I’m a hustler, so I’m just going to keep on selling,” Jamil said. “I don’t care if it’s raining, I don’t care if it’s super hot, I’m just going to come out here and try to sell as much as I can. Do the best that I can, and that’s it.”

Jamil was inspired by the show Shark Tank and cooking shows that featured kids his age. His passion is his business, and he can’t wait to give Roanoke even more.

If you’d like to support Jamil’s business aspirations, feel free to donate to his GoFundMe page.

If you have a local restaurant Josh needs to check out, send him an email at or connect with him on Facebook at Josh Birch WDBJ7.

Copyright 2020 WDBJ. All rights reserved.

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