At the young age of 16, Dontae Hines began his career in the restaurant industry as a busser. For several years the kitchen manager tried to convince Hines to quit bussing tables and work in the kitchen, but he repeatedly declined. Thankfully the manager didn’t give up, Hines fell in love with making food, and the rest is history! He spent the next 15+ years working in various roles at several area restaurants, then March 2020 happened. Hines realized that after spending so many years working alongside others to build their businesses, he wanted to give life to his own ideas and potential, and Dontae’s Highland Pizza Parlor became a reality.
Enter Business Advisor Julie Folz with the Southwest Indiana SBDC. “She has pushed me to think outside the box and has taken it to another level, especially with the marketing side of the business,” said Hines. Folz also connected him with the Indiana University Kelly School of Business Project HOPE. Hines praised the Southwest Indiana SBDC for being a tremendous asset to the community and is grateful for the answers that provided him the opportunity to pursue his dream. “I may be in the business of making pizza, but my true business is making people happy. If my community is going to invest in me, I’m going to invest right back into my community.”