Many celebrities and actors have passions and interests outside of acting. Some of them have started their own businesses on the side. Let’s be honest, most of them have enough money to do whatever they want for the rest of their lives, so they might as well start their own dream business with their riches. People from all walks of life start small businesses, but not everyone can make their businesses as fancy or exactly as they dreamed them. Obviously that reality doesn’t apply to rich and famous actors. As a result, actors often start some of the most interesting and different businesses out there. From internet startups to family restaurants, these celebrities have made their dreams a reality. Some of them keep their side businesses on the down low, while others use their fame to promote their businesses. Some of the businesses are simply personal dream businesses for the actors who started them, and others are charitable organizations that help important causes in the world.
Seeing famous actors start their own businesses is a reminder that they are regular people just like us, who have hopes and dreams outside of Hollywood. Well, they’re like us if we had millions of dollars and legions of adoring fans. Whatever. The point is that they aren’t just pretty faces with gold-plated yachts full of diamonds. Some of them have done some interesting things outside of acting. All of these celebrities have started their own businesses, and some of them are pretty cool.
10. Kevin Smith Owns A Comic Book Shop
Kevin Smith bought a comic book shop in New Jersey in 1997 and renamed it Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash. It is a collectible comic book shop, and it has a museum of stuff from some of Kevin Smith’s movies. Not content to simply own a comic book shop, Kevin Smith made a TV show about it called Comic Book Men, which is a reality show about the employees and customers of the show. Interestingly, Kevin Smith doesn’t actually work in the show on a daily basis. Instead, he has a team of employees, who tell him stories about the day to day happennings of the shop on the TV show.
9. Edward Norton Started A Crowdfunding Website For Charities
CrowdRise is a crowdfunding program started by Edward Norton and Shauna Robertson in 2010. It works like other crowdfunding programs like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, except that all the projects on the site are for charities. Causes on the site range from community organizations to personal causes. The site has raised money for countless organizations and causes, and it does so with a bit of flair and fun. The slogan under the main logo on the website even says “If you don’t give back no one will like you.” It’s nice to see a charity funding platform with a healthy sense of humor. Maybe Edward Norton isn’t so much of a jerk after all.
8. Steve Carell Owns A General Store
Steve Carell owns a store called the Marshfield Hills General Store in Marshfield, Massachusetts. He bought the store in 2009 to preserve it as a cultural landmark. Carell believes that community gathering places like the general store are disappearing, and he wanted to keep one afloat. The store’s website is somewhat bare, but it seems more like a store that needs to be visited in person, anyway. It would be nice to think that if you visited the Marshfield Hills General Store, you’d find Steve Carell there hanging out, having a cup of coffee with a few regulars. It’s probably more likely that he runs his store from afar, and lets his employees handle the day to day business.
7. Clint Eastwood Owns A Ranch Hotel
In 1986 Clint Eastwood bought the Mission Ranch Hotel and Restaurant in Carmel, California. He bought the property to save it from “an impending fate as a condominium development.” He had the property renovated to resemble various styles from the estate’s long history, dating all the way back to the 1840s. Now guests can come and stay at the ranch and enjoy beautiful views and a unique piece of California history. Fun fact: Eastwood took a turn as a politician in the 80s when he served as the mayor of the city of Carmel from 1986 to 1988.
6. Mark Wahlberg Started A Family Restaurant
Mark Wahlberg got into the restaurant business in 2011 when he started a casual dining and bar establishment called Wahlburgers with his two brothers, Donnie and Paul. You might remember Donnie from his run in New Kids On The Block. Paul is the chef and mastermind of the operation. Just like Kevin Smith, Marky Mark decided that he needed a television show to chronicle the goings-on of his new business. The trio have opened several additional Wahlburgers locations in Toronto, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, and New York City. If you live in one of those cities or you plan to visit, you can check out the restaurant for yourself to see what all the hype is about.
5. Sandra Bullock Owns A Bistro
Sandra Bullock opened two restaurants in Austin, Texas in 2006. The first is called Bess Bistro, which is a high end bistro restaurant. The second is called Walton’s Fancy and Stable, which is a bakery, flower shop, and catering service, among other things. Both of them were very successful, but Bess Bistro closed down this year. Bullock’s sister Gesine created some of the menu items at Walton’s. The store is an Austin favorite with many loyal customers. She is very passionate about her business and stops in frequently. In a 2013 interview with Vanity Fair, Bullock said that when she is acting she feels like a small piece in a giant corporate mechanism, but in the store she has creative control.
4. Armie Hammer Owns A Bakery
Armie Hammer and his wife opened BIRD Bakery in San Antonio, Texas in 2012. His wife Elizabeth, is also a TV journalist and model; she grew up baking. Her grandmother even ran a local catering company in San Antonio. The bakery specializes in quiches, breads, cupcakes and other breakfast treats, but you can order lunch at the BIRD Bakery as well. They also offer catering services for weddings and parties. At the end of every day, the bakery donates leftover baked goods to local charities. Not only are they doing good for the community, but it also means that every treat purchased at BIRD Bakery is guaranteed to have been baked fresh that day.
3. Pharrell Williams Owns A Bicycle Company
Famous singer and songwriter Pharrell Williams co-owns a bicycle company called Brooklyn Machine Works. To promote his business, Pharrell arrived at the 2013 MTV Awards red carpet on BMX bikes from Brooklyn Machine Works. The company is both a bike shop and a bicycle factory. The company’s website advises potential customers to “email us before you drop by to make sure we’re around.” Pharrell is always on top of the latest trends and fashions, and it seems he has an interest in designer bicycles. His latest design goes for $16,500, so you might not be getting your hands on one anytime soon.
2. Miranda Lambert Owns A Boutique
In 2012 Miranda Lambert opened an electric boutique shop in Tishomingo, Oklahoma called The Pink Pistol. It was started as an attempt to promote local business in the small town. The store has done extremely well, and may have even helped the entire town’s economy grow. Lambert has stated that she does not want to offer merchandise online, because it would take away from the experience of visiting the store in person. A second location was opened in Lindale, Texas, which is Lambert’s home town. She also owns an ecletica store and bed and breakfast in Tishomingo called The Ladysmith.
1. Heath Ledger’s Friend Started A Restaurant In His Honor
Before his death, Heath Ledger had planned a cafe called Five Leaves. His friend and business partner Jud Mongell brought the plans to life with funding from Ledger’s estate in 2008. Today Five Leaves is a comfortable and inexpensive brunch spot that is a great place to spend a morning with friends. The whole cafe has a nautical theme, and is shaped like a ship’s prow. It is still going strong today, which is a testament to Ledger’s vision and Mongell’s business prowess. If it is too busy during the brunch hour, you can always try the dinner menu in the evening.