In honor of February being Black History Month, the San Diego Business Journal will be celebrating Black Entrepreneurs with a special section for each of the four weeks in February.
Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. It was President Gerald Ford who first designated the month to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
With that in mind, each of these weekly sections this month will feature stories about local black entrepreneurs who have achieved much in their businesses and contributed so much to the San Diego community.
This week we feature ten businesses that are just a sample of what local Black-owned businesses have accomplished.
Tracy Morris founded The Blue Heart Foundation in 2013 alongside his wife, April Ray, in an effort to provide underserved youth various experiences and to encourage them to understand they are better than what their current circumstances suggested. He wanted the company to give young men in his community the life skills to succeed, and he is doing that. His story may be found on page 11.
Clement Johnson owns and runs a knowledge management company Clem-Tech LLC of Carlsbad. A former Marine, Johnson deals in enterprise computing and networks. He does business with the U.S. government and government contractors. Through special programs with the federal government, he is able to compete with businesses much larger than his on an equal footing. His story may be found on page 12.
Carla Farley formed her own real estate company – Corban Realty Group – in 1994 after working as an agent for other area firms. She is also president of the San Diego Association of Realtors — the first Black woman to hold that position in the association. Active in many service organizations and her church, she sees her success as testimony to her faith, determination and grit. Her story may be found on page 12.
Just days after the coronavirus hit, Lemon Grove’s comfort food mainstay Coop’s West Texas BBQ was ready to shut its doors. But something kept tugging at owner Brad “Coop” Cooper and he realized how many people and their families depended on him. Within hours he had called employees back to work and the restaurant has been open for pick up and delivery. Because of solid customer service and a deep sense purpose, the restaurant is projecting solid growth in 2021. His story may be found on page 13.
Encouragement is what Janice Brown needed to change her life and give her the confidence to start her own law firm – the Brown Law Group. Now she tries to do the same for others as she shares how she looks at everything as an opportunity to learn. Her story begins on page 14.
Mike Roberts, has a passion for helping under-represented people break into technology industries. He launched his Black-owned San Diego Code School in 2018 to focus primarily on helping companies build high performance engineering teams and bringing together individuals who are often overlooked in the job process. His story may be found on page 14.
Bringing craft beer to underserved areas of the South Bay was something important to Timothy Parker. His Chula Vista Brewery is the only Black-owned brewhouse in all of San Diego County. Inspired by the company’s success, he will be opening another location in East Lake in March. His story may be found on page 15.
Creating a media resource library is something that sounds simple. Virgen Barnet and Daniel Christian figured they were on the cusp of something big when their social media networking business evolved into a more formal organization. Now named Come Through Media, the business has become a full-fledged media company. Their story may be found on page 15.
When Ty Smith retired from the Navy, he founded CommSafe, a technology company that specializes in conflict and violence prevention. He says he got the idea for the business when he could find no leading solution that provided a systematic way to become aware of violent-related issues in real time. To date the company has partnered with 45 leading companies throughout the nation. His story may be found on page 16.
Crystal Sargent was out with a friend five years ago when they both got to talking about starting a business. Sargent left the restaurant with an idea. In 2016 she founded a business Invested Advisors, Inc. which offers a variety of business consulting services, including marketing and communications. They also provide event marketing support and advice for financial institutions, government agencies and private businesses. Her story may be found on page 16.
More businesses will be featured next week.
Throughout 2021, the San Diego Business Journal is committed to continuing to showcase minority-owned businesses.