MEMPHIS, Tenn. - - Black Enterprise Magazine says Memphis is the best city for black-owned small businesses. Other publications have said the same in recent months.
Experts list three big reasons as to why Memphis is such a good spot. First off, the city is diverse. Two, the cost of living is low. Three, there are lots of good resources. For example, Emerge Memphis. It's an organization that helps small business owners realize their dreams.
Cedrick Wright is one of those business owners. For 18 years, he evaluated Hilton hotels.
"I would see scars on the walls and when I saw scars, it's a ding for the hotel. So, they lose points on the evaluation," Wright says.
The walls were beat up by house keeping carts.
"So, they're asking me how to fix it and I'm like I don't know let's figure it out and, ding!" Wright says.
He came up with the Base Board Beagle. It's a bumper that attaches to the cart. He calls it that because it looks like a little beagle sniffing around on the wall.
"So, instead of the cart itself hitting the wall, this hits the baseboard and it bounces off," he says.
He and his wife have been selling them for about a year. They're already in 150 hotels.
"We turned a profit the first two months," Wright says.
Emerge Memphis helped them with things like marketing and product development, something the two are grateful for.
"It's a benefit to be in Memphis, Tennessee," Wright says.
Their company, Wriatt Services, is based online, and it's growing fast.
"I've sold to hotels in Idaho, Florida, California, New Mexico, New Hampshire, all over," Wright says.
He actually started in the hotel business 30 years ago as a room service waiter. Now, he works for himself, which is scary but rewarding.
"I've been a clock puncher all my life. I'm terrified but I tell you what, it's going to work because it's proven. It's been proven over the last year or so," Wright says.