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Meet David Moody, Owner of a Construction Company That Has Done $3 Billion in Deals

Our previous article about C. David Moody has been shared over 1.3 million shares and counting. That tells us that you all want to know more about the man that built C D Moody Construction, one of the largest construction firms in the country.

We caught up with Mr. Moody to find out more about him and his business.

David Moody
C. David Moody

What inspired you to start your business?

I worked for some small construction companies and a very large construction company and this might sound strange, but it just kind of happened. I had reached a point where my wife and I said we don’t have anything to lose, so let’s give it a try. That is how it all happened. Our first office was our bedroom.

What is the most challenging and most rewarding thing about being an entrepreneur?

The most challenging is not giving up during times of struggle and despair. If married your spouse must be all in. My wife went back to school and became a registered nurse, so we could have a steady income.

The most rewarding is never missing a payroll in 32 years and knowing what we started as a dream has helped others create a great life for themselves. Giving back to help others is a great feeling.

You are pretty open about your childhood trauma. Why is it important for you to speak up about it?

I speak up because I remember suffering in silence about being a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. I had a complete emotional breakdown in 1992, and our business was only 4 years. I had to suffer in silence and I had to heal in secret. That cost me some valuable time in my business growth.

I don’t want anyone to suffer in silence from trauma. I want to help others heal and see they can not only survive but thrive. We will all be knocked to our knees in life. The good news we are stronger than we realize. We can and we will get up. I speak up so others know they are not alone on the journey of healing or life.

David Moody
Former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young (left) and David Moody.

What do you attribute the growth and longevity of your company to?

I attribute my longevity to God having a plan for me to not only be a successful contractor but to use my platform to help others turn trauma into triumph.

The other reasons are my wife and I have never had an expensive lifestyle and I have loved architecture and construction since I was a child.

I am living a dream that I didn’t think would happen for me. I grew up in the 1960s. I didn’t see any Black contractors growing up.

What advice do you have for aspiring for success in the real estate/construction industry?

First, it must be your love. Money can’t be your focus. Focus on being excellent in your craft and the money will follow. Be present in life and have a blast every day. Be patient and enjoy life. Keep your faith strong and put positive energy into the universe. Don’t cut corners and honor your word. Never lie and let honesty guide your steps.

 

-Tony O. Lawson

Purchase your copy of  David’s book, “FIGHTING THROUGH THE FEAR”  HERE.


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Couples Inc. : Toya and Reuben created southern lifestyle brand, Grits Co.

Grits Co. is a southern lifestyle brand created to graphically represent the southern experience in an unapologetic way.  We spoke to founders, Toya and Reuben Levi to find out how they balance business and family.

Grits Co
Toya and Reuben Levi

What inspired the creation of Wear Grits?

Wear Grits was inspired by the narratives of our southern lifestyle. We wanted to create something that reflected our lives and ancestors.

How did you meet each other?  

We met through a mutual friend at a Hip-Hop event in Austin, Texas. The friend knew both of our backgrounds and thought we needed to know each other. We exchanged information and pretty much have been talking ever since.

In what ways do you have similar entrepreneurial traits and in what ways are you different as entrepreneurs?

We both have our strengths and we work well with them. We come together for the creative, but Levi is strong in design and Toya is strong in business management and marketing. We both know what it takes to run a successful business, so we know our roles to get the job done.

Grits Co

So far, what has been the most rewarding and the most challenging thing about being an entrepreneur?

The most rewarding thing would be teaching and showing our daughters so much about being an entrepreneur. Everywhere we go and every opportunity that we receive we make sure that they feel included in this family business.

Seeing them have pride in something that we are creating is the best gift. We don’t see anything as a challenge, just another lesson on our journey. Things come up all the time with business, but you figure it out and keep moving forward.

What advice do you have for couples that are in business together or thinking about it? 

The advice we would give for a couple going into business together would be to know your role and be accountable for your actions. By going into business with a clear guideline on who is doing what will keep things running smoothly without over stepping boundaries.

Of course, you will be around each other more than a regular work relationship, so being clear with communication is also key. We encourage couples to do business together, but to remain patient and honest with each other through the process.

Where do you see the business in 5 years?

We plan things day by day, but of course we want to continue to be creative, more professional speaking engagements, more opportunity for our film, The Green Book Project, and so much more.

Tell us more about The Green Book Project.

The Green Book Project is a web documentary that will include photo essays and interviews across the United States about African American’s experiences.  We look forward to traveling to new locations, hosting more Dinner Parties, and speaking engagements. We hope to release a few new dates by the beginning of 2019 please check out www.thegreenbookproject.com

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

No Grits No Glory, that is why our motto is so simple. Never give up. Things will be hard, but the struggle is a part of the story. Smile through the good and the bad, and always give yourself a pat on the back for taking the risk to do things on your OWN. Life is all about taking Risk and owning a business is a risk. Stay positive and get ready to work hard.

 

-Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson (IG@thebusyafrican)

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The only Black Owned Bank in Texas Opens Atlanta branch

Unity National Bank, the only Black owned bank in Texas, has opened its first out-of-state branch in Atlanta. This is happening in a time when the number of Black owned banks in the U.S. is on decline.

The expansion caps recent years of financial growth at Houston-based Unity, driven in part by the bank’s continued commitment to its Third Ward neighbors, and recent social justice movements. Unity is the only Black owned bank in Texas.

black owned bank

In September 2017, the bank reported assets of more than $98 million, up from $84 million in the same period a year earlier. Between 2015 and 2017, it reported an 18.4 percent increase in assets making it one of the top-performing Black owned banks in the U.S., according to a report from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Unity’s financial success is an outlier, said William Michael Cunningham, D.C.-based economist and banking expert.

In 1994, there were 55 African-American-owned banks in the U.S. By 2010, that number dwindled to 34. Today, it’s less than 30.

Unity also was able to avoid taking up any government bailouts after its board members and shareholders invested their own capital into keeping the bank open. They weren’t willing to let go of its historic and symbolic significance, Brooks added.

 

Banks like Unity popped up across the nation during the 1960s civil rights movement. African-American small business owners, denied financing at white-owned banking institutions, opened their own banks within their neighborhoods. They served as a means to build their own capital, and as a symbol of black economic power.

Unity was originally founded in 1963 as Riverside National Bank, led by local doctors and lawyers.

Cunningham said that often these founders had no plan of succession, leading to bank closures by the next generation.

In 1985, the bank’s name changed to Unity National Bank. Four years later, Unity was acquired by a new set of minority leaders who continued the bank’s legacy of serving lower-income residents in Houston’s Third Ward, going to so far as to offer financial literacy services to customers denied loans at other banks. Workers at Unity continued to sit down with customers, walking them through why they were denied and helping them brainstorm ways to improve their financial standing to qualify.

Unity National Bank CEO, John Scroggins

For all its efforts, Unity was losing higher-earning clients to larger banks such as Wells Fargo that offered more resources.

By 1998, Unity opened its first branch in Missouri City where it attracted black customers from a higher income bracket, as well as a greater variety of customers including Latinos and Asians.

Brooks noted that as Unity continued to serve its community, this time as a regional bank, there was some question over whether the community appreciated Unity’s services and history.

In 2016, the bank got its answer.

Following the police shootings of black men across the country in 2016, including Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota, rapper Killer Mike offered an alternative to protests. At an MTV and BET town hall meeting, as an extension of the Black Lives Matter movement, he called for 1 million African-Americans to deposit $100 in black-owned banks. It would be a means to heal by strengthening the community’s power, specifically its economic power.

The movement #BankBlack took off. Unity was taken by surprise.

More than 350 people opened new accounts at Unity days after Mike’s announcement. They waited in line for hours, some traveling from out-of-state where their black-owned banks had closed.

Across the nation, Mike’s million goal was met and banks like Unity experienced a revival that some academics, including Cunningham, cite as potential for these banks to grow in size rather than shrink as projected

“In history, movements pop-up that change the trajectory of a given industry,” Cunningham said.

Sherifat Lawal, assistant vice president of lending at Unity, said that the push from #BankBlack is still being felt today with residents from across Texas and out-of-state asking for new branches to open.

The expansion into Atlanta this year, Lawal added, was in part driven by the public support in 2016.

Kase Lawal, local billionaire and chairman of Unity, had been interested in having Unity enter the Atlanta market since 2007 because it’s the so-called “mecca” of black business. Opportunity opened up in 2017 after one of Atlanta’s prominent Black owned banks closed, leaving a void Unity could fill.

Billionaire Kase Lawal and wife Eileen Lawal

More than 500 guests attended the grand opening ceremony on March 26 at the corner of Peachtree Street and M.L.K. Jr. Drive, including U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., and Atlanta’s Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

“By providing opportunities to achieve financial success, businesses like Unity National Bank help build equity into the fabric of our community,” Bottoms said in a statement. “Having a bank that understands the needs of the unbanked and that specializes in serving Black entrepreneurs is an essential part of my administration’s goal to build one Atlanta.”

Back at the Houston branch, a sign announcing the Atlanta expansion greets clients.

“They’re excited about their bank going to Atlanta,” Brooks said. “Everyone wants pride of ownership, and our customers own the bank with us.”

Unity continues to be a supporter of Black people in the Houston region, including members of the Greater Houston Black Chamber of Commerce.

To further tap into the renewed public interest in Black owned banks, Unity is set to launch a full online banking service by year-end so residents from across Texas and the U.S. can open accounts electronically.

 

Source: The Chron

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Black Owned Businesses in Texas That You Should Know

The list of Black owned businesses in Texas would be too extensive if we tried to list even just a few from each city. Therefore, we’ll break it down piece by piece and start with some that are located in Dallas and Houston. Enjoy!

Black Owned Businesses in Dallas & Houston

Brown Girls Do Ballet was initially a personal photo project focused on highlighting underrepresented populations of girls in ballet programs.  (Dallas)

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Sunshine’s Health Food Store and Vegetarian Deli is a socially responsible restaurant and store that promotes healthy living through food. ( Houston) 

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Off the Bone Barbeque is a family-owned and operated business that offers old fashioned pit-smoked meat and home recipes at their best. (Dallas)

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Lucille’s offers modern takes on Southern classics by a classically trained chef served in a cozy, vintage house. (Houston)

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LA Maison in Midtown is a peaceful, relaxing environment within walking distance of Houston’s finest restaurants and most lively entertainment venues.

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Café 4212 is the museum district’s hidden jewel and an urban oasis in the heart of midtown Houston. Live jazz & DJs are on offer at this chill club serving small bites plus weekend brunch.

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The Breakfast Klub is “kasual” family-style restaurant decorated with modern art, lush plants and wood tables. They offer diner-style American eats & stick-to-your-ribs soul food including chicken & waffles. (Houston)

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The African American Museum is an institution dedicated to the research, identification, selection, acquisition, presentation & preservation of visual art forms. (Dallas)

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Frenchy’s Chicken has been serving Houston since it was founded in 1969. Since then, Frenchy’s has become one of the most popular Creole cuisine restaurants in Houston and surrounding areas.

black owned dallas houston

Joe Black Barber Shop originated in New Orleans and relocated to Houston after Hurricane Katrina. They offer haircuts, “MANicures” and other “special” haircut services. (Pearland)

black owned

The Fade Shop is a mature, professional barbershop delivering the best haircut services with locations in Dallas, Frisco and McKinney Texas.

black owned dallas houston

Koffee Day Spa is a boutique spa located in downtown Dallas. They provide Facials, Massage, Makeup, Manicure/Pedicure, Body Treatments and Waxing.

black owned dallas houston

Deep in the Roots is a natural hair care salon located near Downtown Dallas. They provide quality 100% natural products that will keep your hair looking marvelous.

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Mikki’s Cafe & Catering is a well known soul food spot. “Eating here is like eating at Grandma’s house.” (Houston)

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-Tony O. Lawson

If you would like to add your business to this list (or another) SUBMIT HERE.


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