The only thing I don’t like about traveling is the time you use to get there and get back and the weight you gain while you are off your regular routine. Last month, I did both while driving to Northern California to visit my wife’s brother and his wife. I ate my share while I was there. No exercise plan except to park as far away as possible to walk back and forth to the car. Except for a net gain of three pounds to work off, it was a great experience.
We went to a soul food café in Pittsburgh, California, near Oakland, and as we were leaving one of the restaurant partners ran out after us and called my name. It turned out to be Leonard Collins, a transplanted Pasadenan who has moved north to manage the restaurant. This restaurant was called The Southern Cafe, and I found out there was also one in Oakland.
It’s shocking and pleasing to be identiﬁed in a foreign place with a good report. He knew us from The Journal and was proud of that fact as well as having The Journal sponsor one of his projects. Leonard shared how he and his partners decided to come together to start their own business for the community and provide jobs for community residents. This business was located in the old town area and happened to be preparing for their annual Old Fashioned House Party. Events like this bring people back into areas stricken by urban blight and gentriﬁcation.
During this trip I picked up an article and read about OSH Company. It told the story of how OSH (aka Orchard Hardware) got started. Apparently 30 farmers got together each put thirty dollars into the pot and decided to come together to start a store. Now they are a corporate entity owning multiple stores.
Now I am not suggesting that thirty people could come together with thirty dollars each and start a corporate entity but what if they each had three thousand dollars to start with? Now we can move with stating a business. Who knows what could happen. It beats sitting around doing nothing but talking about it, and that beats sitting around talking about how hard times are.
What about a food truck or a janitorial or gardening business? I am impressed by the food trucks that end up becoming a brick and mortar restaurant. A janitorial business can become an international building maintenance, and the gardening business that starts a landscaping business maintaining the grounds of ofﬁces and large corporate businesses. Small companies create fertilizers, hair care products, waxes, polishes, and a variety of products to be used by others in the business they create.
As I write this, I am sitting here with a bottle of Michele’s syrup. The bottle says, “From My Family To Yours.” Michele’s story is fascinating. She’s the granddaughter of a slave who created a syrup for her master’s pancakes over 100 years ago. Michele took the recipe and started Michele Foods. They are based in Illinois and sold in stores throughout America.
I worked in a barber shop years ago where we sold hair care products called Magniﬁcent Brothers hair care softeners, shampoos and curl activator. I don’t know what happened to the company but there is still a Magniﬁcent Brother’s Hair Salon on Crenshaw in Los Angeles.
I have a close friend, Lorenzo Grifﬁn, who has started his own hair care products line. Lorenzo and his wife, Wanda, founded Laran Company 10 years ago. They employ sales representatives throughout the U.S. In addition to hair shows, they also provide training in hair styling techniques. You may ﬁnd their products in beauty salons across the country.
I was impressed then and I am still impressed by us doing something for ourselves. Talk is cheap. Do something beyond just a job. Create something that will provide for your family and also provide for other families. Then you can say, “From My Family To Yours.” (Or like FUBU: For Us By Us)