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Black CEO of million-dollar moving company offering second chances to former inmates and troubled youth

CEO Chandra Thomas founded J.C. Movers & Lumper Services Inc. to keep young Black men and women off the streets.

Black CEO of million-dollar moving company offering second chances to former inmates and troubled youth
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Chandra Thomas founded the Chicago-based moving company, J.C. Movers & Lumper Services Inc., to keep young Black men and women off the streets and give others a second chance.

At first, she didn’t want to be a part of it, but encouragement from family and friends prompted the effort.

“When I started the moving company, it was my dream to grow it to a company that will keep young men and women off the street. (I also wanted to) provide a better opportunity for them to provide a sufficient life for themselves and their families,” Thomas told Black Enterprise in an interview.

“Eventually, we decided to take it further ... and after turning into a moving company, it was brought back to my attention that when I was younger, I always wanted to have a second chance program. So, that’s how I became the source of second chances, where we see young Black and Brown men and women going into jail, coming back out and going back to jail, and I thought, ‘OK, what’s the problem here?’”

She noted that inmates often struggle to find stable employment and opportunities, leading them back to a life of crime and back in jail. As a result, she positioned her $1.7-million business to provide second chances to those in need.

She has created business opportunities for everyone by reaching out to other affiliate partners and moving companies to expand her clientele rather than being a direct competitor to many.

“I even reached out to affiliates willing to share their knowledge, wisdom and processes. So, we have developed the pay it forward mentality. We were helping each other, my moving company helping another moving company, and we’re all just trying to survive this entrepreneur life,” Thomas told Black Enterprise.

“Most people wouldn’t have thought that another business in the same industry would be willing to help you, but because we realize there’s more than enough for everybody and we didn’t take on the mentality of being competitors. We were all trying to service the client.”

It hasn’t been easy. The moving industry is mostly male-dominated, so as a Black woman with ownership in the business, she’s had to fight for her spot.

“No. 1, to be a woman in charge of men, so when you have to give them instructions, I’ve had to experience them saying, ‘You don’t know what you’re talking about, you’ve never moved before; you don’t know what we face in the field.’ So we are just trying to relate what they go through on a day-to-day basis as well as just taking a call from a customer who wants to raise a concern and talk to me on the phone and is shocked that I’m a woman and I have to convince them I’m the owner.”

Source: Yahoo Finance