Justin Macedo graduated in December of 2022 from the Walton College with a degree in management with a concentration in small business/entrepreneurship and a minor in geography.
He started working at Uncle Sam's Safari Outfitters the day after he graduated from Farmington High School and continued throughout his time at the University of Arkansas, excluding the summers spent in Alaska and Colorado as a fishing guide.
He would eventually purchase Uncle Sam's in November of last year, only weeks before he graduated.
Q&A with Justin:
Q: How do you think the Walton College has helped you reach your goals?
A: "If you had asked me during my freshman year of college if I could see myself buying the store I was currently working at, I would have said you have lost your mind.
There have been several faculty members who have been instrumental in this process including Flint Harris' leadership class, Omar Kasim’s entrepreneurship/new ventures development class. However, the most instrumental person was Mark Zweig. He pushed me to talk to the owner about purchasing the business after I gave a consulting presentation over Uncle Sam’s in his small enterprise management class.
He helped field questions during the purchase process and connected me with other people to help me along. Without Mark and his class, I doubt I would be in the position I am in now."
Q: What's something you wish you would have known before buying a business?
A: "I wish I would have known the amount of time that paperwork would take, and I would have planned my fall better. I got engaged, was working almost full time, taking 12 hours of online classes, doing financial projections, and state paperwork, working with my lawyer, accountants, banks, and orders with our vendors.
I lost a fair amount of sleep and got a few due dates mixed up but made it through."
Q: What has been the greatest reward so far?
A: "The greatest reward so far was when I was able to do payroll for the first time. I was proud to be able to pay other people that I had worked with over the years and was very grateful and proud of the work they put in."
Q: What encouragement would you give to aspiring young business owners?
A: "My encouragement that I would give to aspiring business owners is this: you can do it. If you are currently employed, you can begin to think like an owner and own your role.
This was the biggest thing that helped me in ownership, I already felt like I owned the store before I signed any paper or offered anything.
If you think like an owner while you work or do school you are already leaps and bounds above everyone else."