"Never forget where you came from." Many of us have heard that advice at some point in our lives. It's also the advice our business member, Tarik Casteel gives to fellow black business owners.
Tarik is the President/Owner of TLC Construction and Renovations LLC and TLC Work-Based Training Services, Inc. As a 5-year business member of ours, we've seen firsthand, the profound impact Tarek and his businesses have had on our local community and economy. That impact, as well and the importance of minority-owned business, are the essence of National Black Business month, which began August 1st.
In honor of this month, we sat down with Tarik to learn more about him, his businesses, the challenges he's faced as a black business owner and how he has overcome them.
A graduate of Harrisburg High School and Cheyney University, Tarik is no stranger to Pennsylvania. "As a hometown busines owner, I can lead revitalization of the communities I grew up in with empathy, compassion and without gentrification playing a role," remarks Tarik. Overall, he has over 20 years of building and construction experience. The creed of his businesses is "professional, timely and qualified work as demonstrated by our accomplished portfolio."
The Business Side
Tarik started both TLC Construction & Renovations, LLC and TLC Work-Based Training Program, Inc. According to their website, TLC C&R is a full-service firm with an experienced pre-development team that provides initial start-up to project completion construction services and support. They keep their business local by developing long standing relationships with contractors from the local area and relying on them to install electrical, plumbing and heating requirements.
The Non-Profit Side
TLC Work-Based Training Program, Inc. is the non-profit organization owned and operated by Tarik. According to their website, this Program is a collaboration of a three-way partnership: CRAM, Inc., the L.E.A.D.E.R. Project and TLC Work-Based Training Program, Inc. (in partnership with TLC Construction & Renovation, LLC). They provide skills and on-the-job training in construction and renovation trades, that certainly enhances the vision of the L.E.A.D.E.R. Project. Tarik, an ex-offender, is now highly successful and "secures renovation and construction contracts that create employment opportunities and on-the-job training for ex-offenders."
Tarik is very proud that both of his companies can provide quality, affordable housing to residents in undeveloped areas of Harrisburg thanks to two tax credit application awards from PHFA. In terms of projects, the The HUB Veterans Housing (HUB-VH) stands out to Tarik because it was an anchor project highlighting their initial entry into the tax credit sphere. The facility's doors opened on July 18, 2018. Simultaneously, they were rehabbing the old Hamilton Health Center (on the same block) to house minority owned and controlled businesses to showcase strength in numbers and Black Excellence- The Harrisburg Uptown Building.
Challenges as a Black Business Owner
As a minority business owner starting out on his own, a few larger companies were unwilling to give him the opportunity work on certain projects. The companies preferred to work with people in their network whom they had previous experience with. The doors opened for Tarik when a company took a chance on him and trusted that he could deliver on what he promised. He also faced financial challenges from banks and financial institutions who would not lend or offer bonding to him. That's when Tarik came to Members 1st and we've been his trusted financial institution ever since!
The Importance of Black-Owned Businesses
Tarik's journey is inspiring and minority-owned businesses like his need our support now and always. We asked Tarik why he believes these businesses are important to our local economy and communities and he outlined 6 reasons. These businesses help close the racial wealth gap, strengthen local economies and communities, foster job creation, hold other companies accountable, celebrate black culture and provide visibility and representation in the green economy.
The businesses that Tarik leads are thriving, and we are proud to have him as a business member.