Jonathan Morris moved to Fort Worth just eight years ago, but quickly put down roots. Transforming an old garage into the Fort Worth Barber Shop, the entrepreneur first got a feel for the city’s small business scene in 2014. “We’re uniquely positioned to be tapped into the community here. We support each other. We look to each other for inspiration,” Morris says. “Fort Worth just kind of has this underdog mentality that’s unique. It’s in the DNA of what makes the city special.”
That drive and passion for the city will manifest in two very different ways next year: the Hotel Dryce, a homegrown project Morris hopes will connect both travelers and locals to Fort Worth in an authentic way, and a show called “Self Employed,” hosted by the entrepreneur on the brand new Magnolia Network, a joint venture between Waco visionaries Chip and Joanna Gaines and Discover Inc.
The latter will see Morris traveling across the country to speak with fellow self-starters, hosting laid-back conversations that both he and the audience could learn from. “For me, what’s been most inspiring about [Chip and Joanna] is how they’ve channel their entrepreneurship into a powerhouse brand that has essentially changed the economy of Waco,” Morris says.
Though “Self-Employed” was planned far before the pandemic, the effects of Covid-19 could add an interesting layer to the first episodes, slated to film this fall.
“A lot of small business owners have borne the brunt of the pandemic’s economic impact, whether it be loss of sales or having to lay off employees,” Morris says. “I think that will, in some way, be a big focus. Learning about how people have dealt with this and showing it.”
Fort Worth’s Cultural District should welcome Hotel Dryce in early 2021, directly across the street from Dickies Arena. The 21-room boutique hotel, designed by Morris along with local architecture firm Bennett Partners, will include a lobby bar, a courtyard, and will be filled with works created by local makers and small businesses.
“We just want to create this space where locals want to be, and visitors can come and catch the vibe of Fort Worth,” Morris says. “It’s a really, really exciting time to be a part of creating a vision for what the city can become.”