MINORITY BUSINESSES TO WATCH

Treasure Coast Minority Businesses to Watch 2022

Workshops provide Treasure Coast owners with tools to succeed

BY CHAUNCELOR HOWELL

Americans often start their own businesses to circumvent obstacles related to lack of education or experience needed to succeed in the formal economy.

Most minority-owned businesses operate under the premise of owner/operator and struggle to gain access to capital that will help sustain the business over a long period of time.

Historically, in comparison to other racial groups, Black and minority business owners possess fewer personal assets such as home ownership or stocks/bonds to generate startup capital for their businesses.

Scores of studies have shown that this deficiency results in less training, sharing fewer resources, important industry related information, and less human capital transfer over generations, according to the 2019 article Struggles and Strategies of Black Women Business Owners by T.M. Jackson and P. Sanyal in the Journal of Business Anthropology.

To help mitigate this circumstance on the Treasure Coast, the Florida Small Business Development Center at Indian River State College offers free resources available to minority business owners and entrepreneurs to help overcome most of these obstacles.

The SBDC routinely hosts workshops that cover such topics as business startups, QuickBooks, digital marketing consulting, international trade strategies and access to capital. If used properly, assistance from the SBDC can potentially better position minority owned businesses for long-term success and sustainability.

Another bonus for minority business owners is SBDC’s partnership with Indian River State College, which has satellite campuses throughout the Treasure Coast that host these workshops.

To learn more about how to start or grow an existing business, please visit the FloridaSBDC.org; email the Florida SBDC at [email protected]; or call IRSC at 772.336.6285.

Chauncelor Howell is president of the Treasure Coast Black Chamber of Commerce.


Maria Chambers

MARIA CHAMBERS
CNC Jamaican and Soul Food Restaurant

To provide the best food possible, that surpassed our customers expectation. Moreover, the restaurant creates superior customer service every time.

What is the most challenging part of doing business every day?
Keeping the door open on a daily basis.

How do you achieve a healthy work-life balance?
Faith in getting out doing what has to be done, regardless of what’s happening around you. Love what you do and you try and make it happen.

What led you to own your own business?
The love of doing what I do, having been in the industry with more than 40 years experience.

What minority-owned business on the Treasure Coast do you want to give a shout-out to?
CNC Jamaican Restaurant


Belinda McNeal-Chambers

DR. BELINDA MCNEAL-WALKER
Garden of Hope Learning Center
gohlearningacademy.com

The mission of Garden of Hope is to transform lives by providing hope and aspiration, support underserved communities and under-represented populations, and to promote academic excellence through quality resources and wraparound services that address the individualized needs of the whole child and family members.

What is the most challenging part of doing business every day?
The most challenging part of doing business every day is not having sufficient resources to meet the needs of the community.

How do you achieve a healthy work-life balance?
The essential element to achieve and maintain a healthy work-life balance is my personal relationship with the Lord. My spiritual relationship not only helps me maintain a balance, but it consistently reminds me of who I am. Therefore, success moves from just a component of hope or a simple desire to an expectation.

What led you to own your own business?
My desire to open my own business derived from my passion for teaching and serving. I believe that all children can and will learn. I also understand that in order to build capacity within the community we must embrace the family structure. My expectation is to meet the needs of the community and the people we serve by providing intensive wraparound supportive services to address the complex needs of the family. There is greatness in Fort Pierce.

What minority-owned business on the Treasure Coast do you want to give a shout-out to?
Eric Walker Patio Furniture Repair Service. I am so proud of you.


Al Johnson

AL JOHNSON
Jackson Hewitt Tax Service
office.jacksonhewitt.com

Jackson Hewitt provides year-round support to hardworking clients with innovative, low-cost tax solutions.

What is the most challenging part of doing business every day?
Prepared 4,000-plus tax returns this season. This was accomplished via relationship building.

How do you achieve a healthy work-life balance?
Goal setting and time management.

What led you to own your own business?
Motivated by my father.

What minority-owned business on the Treasure Coast do you want to give a shout-out to?
Jackson Hewitt Tax Service


Gary Palmer

GARY PALMER
Gary Palmer Sax | garypalmersax.com

Providing clients a pleasurable musical experience.

What is the most challenging part of doing business every day?
As a musician, due to COVID-19 protocols, it’s been difficult to do live performances.

How do you achieve a healthy work-life balance?
I bowl in several leagues for enjoyment.

What led you to own your own business?
Being a musician and recording artist, you want to ensure that your brand is important to you as well as your customers. I’ve created a corporation for that reason.

What minority-owned business on the Treasure Coast do you want to give a shout-out to?
Treasure Coast Black Chamber of Commerce


Kourtney Rincon

KOURTNEY RINCON
The Warrior Her Podcast

Access to information and a willingness to take chances will yield life changing results.

What is the most challenging part of doing business every day?
The most challenging part of doing business is learning to embrace continuous change. You have to be willing to move quickly, use data to your advantage and be OK with pivoting when necessary.

How do you achieve a healthy work-life balance?
Work-life balance for me is more about taking care of myself first. For me, that is working out, being creative, reading and weekly therapy sessions. I believe in a holistic approach to self-care and focusing on mental, physical and spiritual care of oneself to have the healthiest balance. I know when I’m out of alignment and can quickly identify where I need to improve when I find myself feeling overwhelmed.

What led you to own your own business?
I’ve always known I wanted to be my own boss but I wasn’t sure what that looked like. After opening a CrossFit gym in 2018 and failing miserably, I learned valuable on-the-job experience and that I had a passion for business. I want to create a legacy for my family and positively contribute to my community.

What minority-owned business on the Treasure Coast do you want to give a shout-out to?
Admired Image Beauty Salon, Bos Crab Spot, Jones Old School BBQ, Nails by Jasmine, Nailbar Studio, Poppin Curls & Beauty Bar and Island Girl Wings n Things


Bianca Lewis

BIANCA LEWIS
Bianca’s Cleaning

What is the most challenging part of doing business every day?
I was born and raised in Colombia, South America, with no college education but with dreams and passion to do better. After a few years of working in the medical field, I noticed the offices were not clean to the standard of medical offices, so Bianca’s Cleaning was born.

How do you achieve a healthy work-life balance?
I am customer-service oriented, organized and communication is the key.

What led you to own your own business?
The lack of college degree and to give my two girls a better future.

What minority-owned business on the Treasure Coast do you want to give a shout-out to?
The 22 employees of Bianca’s Cleaning team, all who are Hispanic.


Tessa Adams

TESSA ADAMS
Phatz Chick N Shack

We are the best buffalo wings restaurant in the nation. Phatz provides the best food, atmosphere and wing sauce in the nation. Stop by and grab anything from Chicken N Waffles to one of our delicious Tender Salads to our amazing Shrimp Tacos. And you can’t forget about our World-Famous Finger Lickin Wing Sauce that can be used on everything but mainly on the wings.

What is the most challenging part of doing business every day?
The most challenging part of doing business for me is finding willing workers with good work habits. All I really need for you to do is show up and be willing to learn. One thing I do know is how to teach you to do the job right.

How do you achieve a healthy work-life balance?
I have learned to trust the process I have put in place and to trust my leaders to carry out the vision of the company.

What led you to own your own business?
I had my son right out of high school and knew I did not want to be another statistic. I went to cosmetology school and after completing that I worked for someone for a couple of years. I learned the business, opened my own salon and ran it for 28 years. When I met my husband, we bought a building with a fully equipped restaurant to open Phatz Chick N Shack and it has been up hill ever since. I love creating jobs and teaching.

What minority-owned business on the Treasure Coast do you want to give a shout-out to?
I would like to give a shout to three minority owned businesses … Kinfolks Chicken and Waffle, Tasty Links and Sunrise City Café. They are great people, great owners and truly have a passion for what they do each and every day.


Jerome Rhyant

JEROME RHYANT
Tree Trimmers USA LLC

What is the most challenging part of doing business every day?
Starting a business is a significant achievement for many entrepreneurs, but I have found that maintaining one is the greater challenge. There are many common challenges every business faces, whether you are running a large or small operation. These include hiring the right people, building a brand, developing a customer base, identifying my weaknesses and hiring the right people to compensate for what I don’t do well. Great teams build dreams.

How do you achieve a healthy work-life balance?
We often think about work-life balance as a trade-off between time spent at work and time spent on other non-work activities. The idea of balance is easy enough to explain, but what does it mean? I find time to spend with family, friends and hobbies. Plan to combine work activities with leisure, social or fitness activities. I enjoy singing, playing music and ministry as hobbies.

What led you to own your own business?
After completing high school, I took a year off, prior to going to college. I took a summer job working for a body shop, where I had some prior experience and I enjoyed doing body work. I worked for two weeks and was told that I had a great attitude and good work ethics, but the owner didn’t think the paint and body work industry was a good fit for me. I was fired and was heartbroken for more than two weeks. I made a promise to myself, that I would never allow anyone to ever break my heart again over a nine-to-five job. I purchased a Cutlass car that I painted, remodeled and sold. I was successful in buying three other cars, one at a time, remodeling and reselling them for a profit. I began to recruit my former high school coaches, Coach Green and Coach Farinella. I talked them into hiring me to paint their cars. Prior to college I discovered I had a few things working for me, I could talk and I could sell. I was born to be an entrepreneur. After quitting college in 1982, I returned home and started a company, Today’s Painting, and have never looked back. I chose to hold on to my commitment to me.

What minority-owned business on the Treasure Coast do you want to give a shout-out to?
I want to give a shout out to a good friend and mentor, Vernon Dixon the owner of Dixon’s Check Cashing.


Chauncelor Howell

DR. CHAUNCELOR HOWELL
Treasure Coast Black Chamber of Commerce | tcbcc.biz

To serve as a business resource, a voice, advocate, of any entity with a focus on Black and minority business matters.

What is the most challenging part of doing business every day?
Recruitment

How do you achieve a healthy work-life balance?
Time management is a must and cannot be understated if a healthy work-life balance is to be achieved.

What led you to own your own business?
There was a gap that needed to be filled within the region at-large.

What minority-owned business on the Treasure Coast do you want to give a shout-out to?
As the TCBCC’s founder/president, I do not have a favorite minority-owned business, as I equally support them all.


Julissa Mercado

JULISSA MERCADO
The Skin Spot

What is the most challenging part of doing business every day?
When I moved to Florida without knowing anyone to pursue this career, I knew it wouldn’t be nothing short of challenging. I left everything I knew in New Jersey to follow a dream that I had no idea would actually take off. I funded everything with loans and borrowed money to open up the shop I have today. By a year and a half, I was able to clear my debt and invest in a piece of equipment that I only dreamed of ever affording. The tasks I undertook were challenging in themselves, but mentally I had to truly believe I could do it. And I did.

How do you achieve a healthy work-life balance?
When opening the shop, I feared not having security so much that I had no idea how to balance life and work. All I knew was if I keep working I’ll get closer to where I need to be. I found myself sick, overworked and burned out. I quickly learned that having boundaries for myself was the only way I’d be able to have longevity in what I do. My life hacks include extending myself the grace to take breaks when I need it and to ask for help when I need it as well. I make sure I get enough sleep; I take supplements to keep my gut health in check; I take lunch breaks, and actually use them to eat. Once I learned to take care of myself first, I was able to take care of people from a space of wholeness, which ultimately helped the business succeed.

What led you to own your own business?
After completing my undergraduate degree in women’s and gender studies, I knew I wanted to work predominantly in service to women, and more specifically women of color. This community has been historically under serviced and self-care was never an emphasis in the community I grew up in. Skincare became the vessel in which I was able to serve that community in the best and healthiest way.

What minority-owned business on the Treasure Coast do you want to give a shout-out to?
The Braid Dr and Poppin Curls and Beauty Bar.


Sergio Zeligman

SERGIO ZELIGMAN
Panda Contractors

Panda is in business to improve the lives of their customers by providing the highest quality products and workmanship and creating the best possible experience for them. Panda is also in business to improve the lives of their employees by providing personal and financial growth opportunities for them and creating long term profit growth, profitability and stability for the company.

What is the most challenging part of doing business every day?
Right now the most challenging part of doing business every day is the availability and increasing prices of materials. We understand that the economy is not the best and we need to be able to purchase and receive materials promptly and at competitive prices to meet our customers’ expectations.

How do you achieve a healthy work-life balance?
Work hard while at work and simply enjoy your life after work with the family. As a family-owned business it is important to dedicate time to your family.

What led you to own your own business?
Coming from a family that always had our own business it was just a matter of finding the business that fitted me. Been a civil engineer and a general contractor, it was just a matter of doing what came natural to me. I have always enjoyed creating and serving our community. Making our customers smile is our logo and it is exactly what we try to do every day.

What minority-owned business on the Treasure Coast do you want to give a shout-out to?
We use Rocha Lawn Care as our landscape company. They are very reliable and honest.


Stanley Campbell

STANLEY CAMPBELL
Eagle Force Associates Inc. and Martin Downs Golf Club & Resort

Our mission is to assist our clients in the design and deployment of intelligent systems, where man and machine interface and applications are designed to optimize the performance of each by providing the heavy lifting for many of the most difficult problems in computer science.

What is the most challenging part of doing business every day?
The most challenging part of doing business each day is learning how to say no to every opportunity that comes over without being dismissive. This is very important because you never know who will bring the next great opportunity. The way I approach this issue is to listen attentively. Evaluate the terms, conditions, means, methods and modalities of the opportunity and to state the reasoning behind why the opportunity may not be for me. Make it an educational moment in time, funding, ROI, governance, etc.

How do you achieve a healthy work-life balance?
Make the job fun, inclusive and understood at home. Build in recreation, travel and intelligent growth. Bring the family along when possible and leave the job at the office when possible.

What led you to own your own business?
Thinking that I consistently had great ideas and the discipline to follow them through.

What minority-owned business on the Treasure Coast do you want to give a shout-out to?
State Farm Insurance, H&R Block, WFLM 104.5 the Flame and Treasure Coast Lexus

See the original article in the print publication


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