The Grand Forest Reserve was founded in 2009 by Brian Johnson, in the midst of an energy crisis in the United States that continues to this day. The company's assets consist of a combination of owned, optioned, and leased land, timber, and mineral rights to more than 4,000 acres of land on the Upper and Lower Elkhorn coal bed in eastern Kentucky, one of the most prolific coal beds in the entire Appalachian region. Brian Johnson is currently negotiating to locate an experienced operator to establish a mining operation on-site to extract the coal reserves, which are believed to be of very high quality. Geological studies also indicate that the site may include significant reserves of natural gas; in addition, the acreage includes more than 45,000 mature hardwood trees.
Brian Johnson leads a number of different ventures in addition to Grand Forest Reserve. After graduating from Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green in 1997, he founded a fitness analysis company called Fitness Check LLC, which operated in three states. After five successful years, Johnson sold Fitness Check and joined the Lexington, Kentucky, health and fitness company Global Fitness Holdings, the operator of a number of different health and fitness facilities in seven states.
After joining Global Fitness Holdings, Brian Johnson began making selective investments in commercial and residential real estate in Florida and Kentucky, and he continues to be involved in several real estate projects in both states. He was instrumental in the 2006 start-up of Strategic Advisors, the gas and oil investment company located in Lexington, Kentucky; in 2008, he provided assistance with the establishment, also in Lexington, of Ivisonary Absolute Return II, an equity-based hedge fund. Brian Johnson's participation in the establishment of Fan Outfitters, the rapidly growing collegiate apparel clothing seller, in 2009 marked his entry to the world of retail clothing sales.