‘The Real Black Friday’: Meet the man behind the concept fueling local businesses
CLEVELAND (WJW) — From his office 15 floors above downtown Cleveland, LaRese Purnell never forgets where he came from. “Single mother, three children, hard worker. We experienced living in homeless shelters, standing in soup lines, serving at soup lines even when we were getting food from soup lines.”
That spirit of giving no matter the circumstances and a push for education are the lessons his mother instilled in Purnell and his siblings. “We all are college graduates, we all hold master’s degrees.
Purnell also had a “village of angels,” he calls them, that inspire much of the work he does today. “Those small business owners in the Kinsman, Mt. Pleasant area that would let me come sweep the floor at 11, 12 years old to keep me out the street and put some pocket money in my pocket.”
As an adult, LaRese started teaching financial literacy in cities across the country, noticing entrepreneurs facing certain financial challenges. It sparked a mission and when he returned home he spent every Saturday, all day, walking into Cleveland’s black-owned businesses – finding a common theme.