“New album, new store — boy, we unstoppable today!” Paul Wall told the crowd at Johnny Dang & Co. on Saturday afternoon. He was in mid-boast, flashing a diamond-studded grin while adorned in what seemed like ten pounds of jewelry from his neck.
Any man who proudly sports a Warren Moon throwback jersey should be happy. Any man who befriends the city’s most visible jeweler and becomes a decadelong partner with him should be even happier. On Friday, Wall released his ninth full-length album, The Houston Oiler. On Saturday, it wasn’t specifically about the album and its return to Wall’s Swishahouse glory days. Instead, it was gathering a group of people to gawk and be amazed by his partner’s most important work to date.
TV Johnny, a.k.a. Johnny Dang, has had Johnny Dang & Co. in mind ever since he first came to Houston from Vietnam. Over the past 20 years, he’s moved from having a store in Sharpstown Mall to the Galleria. Jewelry has been in his family for generations, from when his grandfather and father made jewelry for kings to now. He wanted something of his own.
Now he owns what he personally calls his “mini-mart." The newest Johnny Dang & Co. location is a 14,000-square-foot palace with imported decor from Vietnam situated at 6224 Richmond. The floors are marble, and his office is decorated in gold and accented with bottles of fine liquor. “We want our customers to feel like they are very important,” Dang’s wife, Jennifer, told us. On the same day as the launch of the store, her own line, Fashcino, made its debut with jewelry tailor-made not just for men but women and children as well.
“Whatever our customers want, we do it. We want them to have unique pieces that no one else can have,” Jennifer Dang said.
Upstairs, Dang’s jewel palace switches to a bit of a boutique. Partnering with Chicago’s Taste of JBs, the second floor is filled wth high-end street fashion, designer backpacks, sneakers and more.
What makes the third Johnny Dang & Co. location different compared to its counterparts in the city’s two most noted shopping centers is how it feels like Dang’s official home base. His family all proudly sported jewelry and their finest threads for the opening, complete with high-end sports cars outlining the block. All the jewelry is made in house as opposed to having to be shipped out, and the media tour of the spacious facility showed us some of the pieces already in production.
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“I can’t control a factory and a store,” Johnny Dang said inside of his office, his large link chains blinding anyone who stared long enough. “It was very inconvenient. I got the chance to do manufacturing in-house, so now we do it all. I appreciate Houston for supporting me. I love it.”
What did it take for Dang to flesh out his biggest dream yet? “$4.5 million,” he said with a large smile.
As the crowd grew in size and more names such as Slim Thug, Z-Ro, 97.9’s Mad Hatta, J-Que and others flocked to the patio area, more people found themselves looking around and wondering. Dang had effectively built a palace, the biggest extension of his brand yet. The more free Hennessy and laughs, the more the opening felt like a giant family reunion.
Because that’s Johnny Dang in a nutshell: a family man who managed to make everyone shine like family.