Black Business Showcase opens opportunities - Valdosta Daily Times
VALDOSTA – Several Black-owned businesses gathered downtown at the Old Courthouse Square recently. While all of the owners brought different goods and services to the table, they had one common goal.
According to organizers, the Black Business Showcase was an "opportunity to increase equity and a space for Black businesses to be celebrated and showcase their work, while supporting their peer business owners."
“If the month of February is known generally as a slower time for small businesses, imagine how the post-holiday lull is exacerbated amongst our Black-owned businesses. Part of our challenge has been knowing where our peer Black business owners are located and what products or services they offer so that we may do business with them and/or partner,” said DeWayne Johnson, organizer of the Black Business Showcase. “That is exactly what the Black Business Showcase is aiming to bring equity toward.”
He added the showcase was an opportunity for Black business owners to become better acquainted with one another and appropriately be celebrated during Black History Month.
“There are more Black-owned businesses in the City of Valdosta and our surrounding area than people realize are represented,” Johnson said. “This is a time for us to showcase the various businesses that we are operating and the exceptional products and services that we offer.”
Eric Vinson, owner of Dreaming Wild Photography, visited the event with his wife. He said he is interested and looking forward to participating in the next showcase, according to the statement from organizers.
“I thought it was well put together and it was a great step for Black business owners and the community to interact. This is well needed to facilitate the growth of our local Black business community,” Vinson said.
Black-owned businesses that attended included categories such as mental health, fitness, property management, artistic woodwork, tax preparation and pressure washing. Participating businesses had the opportunity to become listed on www.valdostablackowned.com, which is the Valdosta-Lowndes metropolitan area’s only online database listing of Black-owned businesses.
“We were able to make connections with other business owners, and the impact of meeting you all was a really genuine experience. We really look forward to meeting with you all again soon,” Immanuel Kirkland, Sculpt 24 general manager, said.
Charles Gloster, who is the owner of Sculpt 24 Fitness, acquired the gym in December 2020. Sculpt 24 Fitness is the best gym in Georgia for 2021 as identified by the Georgia Business Journal.
Other participants responded with elation about the Black Business Showcase, organizers said.
“I thought it was great. I was able to put some names with some faces, network, and offer information about the services provided by my agency, as well as the other agencies within the Mental Wealth Center,” said Dr. Demetria Hill, business owner.
This was the first year of the Black Business Showcase and organizers said the community can expect more to come.
“The showcase was outstanding. I received much awareness and information and I plan to continue to use the information that I obtained and support my fellow entrepreneurs. We must continue this,” Valdosta City Councilwoman Sandra Tooley said.
Valdosta gym owner hosts vaccination site, encourages community to get the shot - WALB News 10
By Jennifer Morejon
VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Some people in Valdosta were able to get a workout and their COVID-19 shot.
A gym owner, who’s also a nurse, decided to host a vaccine site after seeing the need for it in the community.
Chelsea Klewicki works at Sculpt 24, and with a big support group by her side, she got her first Pfizer vaccine shot.
After hearing parents should get vaccinated to protect their children who can’t, she decided to do it for her 2-year-old son.
“I personally feel like it’s important because all of our children’s lives are important. Whatever I can do to make sure we’re OK, to keep him OK, that’s what I’m going to do,” said Klewicki.
Gym Owner Charles Gloster also serves as a critical care nurse practitioner in Orlando, Fla. With cases increasing and an influx of unvaccinated patients, Gloster decided to step up and help the cause.
“I had a 20-year-old pass away, not from a traumatic brain injury, not from some rare cancer, it was just from COVID. And to have to go to a mother and tell her, ‘Hey, your 20-year-old is not going to survive,” it’s a difficult conversation to have with any mother because you don’t expect to lose people that young,” said Gloster.
Working to educate and inform, Gloster said he’s seen people with regrets after losing unvaccinated loved ones.
“It’s very frustrating when you have something where you have a treatment but there’s so much misinformation about the treatment,” said Gloster.
Gloster hopes this initiative will encourage other business owners to host vaccine sites.
“We’re one of the few businesses that I guess have reached out to the health department to get them to come in, which is kind of shocking to me,” said Gloster.
The Georgia Department of Public Health South Health District (SHD) hosted the site with the CORE organization, or Community Organized Relief Effort.
Kristin Patten with SHD said businesses reaching out is super important. She said it gives the community a sense of trust when getting the shot at a familiar spot.
Businesses interested can reach out to SHD.
Gloster said the sooner more people get vaccinated, the faster the road to normalcy will be.
December Yogi Winner
Best Gym in Georgia 2021: Sculpt 24 Fitness receives statewide award - Valdosta Daily Times
VALDOSTA — Sculpt 24 Fitness has been named the Best Gym in Georgia for 2021 by the Georgia Business Journal, owner Charles Gloster said.
Gloster acquired Sculpt 24 in December 2020.
He said it was an honor to simply be nominated for the recognition and to compete against gyms in larger Georgia cities such as Atlanta. He received notice of the award in November.
“For us to win this was just so unimaginable,” Gloster said. “I couldn’t believe it but I’m just so grateful, so happy.”
The general public voted for the gym, he said. Having residents vote, opposed to undergoing any other selection process, was special to Gloster.
“It was really a big deal for us that people in our community voted enough to where we actually won the award,” he said.
Sculpt 24’s community involvement played a role in the fitness center receiving the honor, Gloster said, noting a COVID-19 vaccination drive was one community event.
The fitness business partners with South Georgia Medical Center and Georgia Military College. A joint venture with Hang Out Yoga is coming in January, Gloster said, adding the gym is working to collaborate with a local school.
When Gloster took over ownership, he said he strived to transform the gym’s branding and image and make it an upscale fitness center.
With 25,000 square feet of space, Sculpt 24 offers the heart rate monitor Myzone, tanning, daycare, personal training, group fitness classes and taekwondo.
According to its website, the center offers Zumba, aerobics, aerial yoga, upright and recumbent bicycles, kids yoga classes, platforms for Olympic lifting, Matrix treadmills, a personal training studio and spin classes.