The Trenton Blog

Meet the Entrepreneurs

April 24, 2024

Three Business Owners in Downtown Trenton Share Their Knowledge and Experience

Downtown Trenton is full of entrepreneurs with all kinds of hopes and dreams for their businesses, and the city. Three ambitious business owners—Rob Wilborn Jr., co-owner of Skil-Lit Cafe, Quayshaun Williams, owner of Much Better Studios, and John Dockery, owner of Moja Life (opening soon)—will be the guest speakers at the April 27, 2024, Community Affairs Café Conversation, “Entrepreneur Edition.”

These special events, presented by the Trenton Police Department in partnership with Trenton Downtown Association, offer guests the chance to hear engaging speakers; mingle with friends, neighbors and community leaders; and discuss critical issues with our first responders.

During the April 27th “Entrepreneur Edition,” hosted by Skil-Lit Cafe, from 11 am to 1 pm, at 113 South Warren Street in downtown Trenton, the three men will share their personal stories, as well as their triumphs and challenges as new business owners. The goal: to help others navigate their own journey as an entrepreneur and to boost business in the district for all.

The three men have many things in common, but one in particular stands out. They are all natives of Trenton who believe in the City and hope to ignite enough energy and optimism to drive more foot traffic in the district. That starts with a good product: a well-run business with excellent service, marketing and support.

John Dockery | Moja Life

John Dockery from Moja Life Trenton NJ

John Dockery is about to open one of the most highly anticipated businesses in downtown Trenton, and he intends to do it right! Moja Life, at 28 South Warren Street, will be Trenton’s first legal recreational cannabis dispensary. The shop will be high-end, in terms of the quality of the product and the welcoming, contemporary atmosphere of the physical space. At the same time, Moja Life will be different from larger, corporate-owned dispensaries. 

“There is a great culture here (in downtown Trenton). We are all like family,” says Dockery, who has become a familiar face around town already. “I would see him at the cafe (Skil-Lit) all the time,” adds Rob Wilborn, owner of Skil-Lit. “It’s how we met! I had no idea he was going to be opening the first legal dispensary. He is a real solid guy.”

Dockery has been keenly focused on the opening of Moja Life for months, though the business was probably years in the making. Dockery is no stranger to the cannabis business. His earlier forays taught him many valuable lessons in life and in business. He is very excited about opening a legal dispensary, and how that will not only better serve him but also the customer.

“I get my product from all licensed growers in safe environments in the state of New Jersey; we believe in supporting other local businesses. In the legal market, everything is tested. Spraying is not allowed,” Dockery notes.

If you want to know more about cannabis, you can ask Dockery, or you can ask his robot. That’s right, Moja Life will have a robot cruising the store, ready to entertain and educate customers. “You can ask the robot any cannabis-related question, and it will have an answer.”

Dockery hopes his unique shop will bring more traffic to Trenton. “Safe cannabis is good for the City,” he adds. “We all want to see downtown Trenton flourish.” 

Quayshaun Williams | Much Better Studios

Quayshaun Williams from Much Better Studios - Photographer in Trenton NJ

Quayshaun Williams already had a successful photography business on North Clinton Street when he opened his studio on Warren Street in downtown Trenton. “Some of my clients were very high profile, and I was looking for retail space in places like New York and Philly,” he says. “But my friend, Rob Wilborn, who owns Skil-Lit, told me about a space that had just become available next to his restaurant.”

Williams liked the space, and more importantly, he liked the vibe. “I was born and raised in Trenton, and I can tell you, the business owners take pride here,” he says. “Everyone knows who you are. I was greeted with open arms. Downtown Trenton is an ideal location for entrepreneurs.”

Though they were both born in Trenton, Williams and Wilborn actually met while working at Merrill Lynch in Yardley, Pa., where Williams was named an “Employee of the Year” in 2015. They discovered many common experiences, interests and aspirations, especially a drive to be successful. 

“And fun fact: Growing up, I went to a different school every year. I was always the ‘new kid.’ When I started doing photography and people loved what I was doing, it made me feel popular. I wanted everyone else to feel that way, to feel good about themselves,” says Williams.

Read more about Willams and Much Better Studios, located at 125 South Warren Street, in this Business Spotlight.

Robert Wilborn Jr.| Skil-Lit Cafe

Robert Wilborn Jr., - Skil-Lit Cafe in Trenton NJ

Robert Wilborn Jr. is a man of our times. He has more than one job, works crazy hours, wears many hats, and places a high value on autonomy and ownership. He and his partner, Deonna Maldonado, are the co-owners of one of downtown Trenton’s most successful new businesses, the Skil-Lit Cafe. It’s no small feat to survive in the restaurant business. It’s been especially difficult in downtown Trenton, a district that relies heavily on the influx of state workers to boost its economy. Hybrid work schedules, with their many desirable perks, are not going away any time soon. Despite this reality, Skil-Lit not only has stayed open through challenging times, but has also extended its hours and is open on weekends. This is exactly what Trenton needs to bring more people downtown.

Skil-Lit is open for breakfast and lunch on Tuesday through Sunday, and employs 19 people. Wilborn and Maldonado are looking to expand even more. “Ultimately, we want to have live music and drinks, to create a lounge vibe,” says Wilborn, who says they became entrepreneurs a little sooner than either expected, though it was always the long-term plan.

When the space became available on South Warren Street, they decided to take the leap, but take it one step at a time. The two, who met years ago working at Cracker Barrel, have culinary, hospitality, and finance skills and experience. And an appetite for hard work and success. 

“Deonna knows how to bring people to the establishment. From the start, she knew we had to learn to market and bring people to the venue,” he continues. “What we want is to make downtown Trenton a destination hub, so people don’t just come downtown to eat at Skil-Lit. We want people to say, ‘Hey, let’s go downtown,’ like they do in Asbury.”

For that to happen, he believes everyone needs to work together, even competitors. Maybe especially competitors. He is more than willing to share his knowledge with others, and participate in community events, such as Café Conversations, as a way to bring more people together in a positive, collaborative way.

Skil-Lit Cafe is located at 113 South Warren Street. 


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