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Gardner launches innovative hiring program

Pushes entrepreneurialism

By Chinta Strausberg

In an effort to create jobs for those who may have criminal backgrounds, former Soft Sheen CEO icon Ed Gardner Friday unveiled a plan that can help motivate young black men and women to start their own business by selling rolls of toilet paper on the streets of Chicago.

Mr. Gardner will talk more about his innovative employment program today, Saturday, October 13, 2012, at BJ’s Market & Bakery, 8734 South Stony Island Avenue, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. The Coalition of African American Leaders (C.O.A.L.) headed by Clarence Wood who is the president is hosting it. Gardner’s self-employment program is unique.

Gardner is purchasing 1800 rolls of toilet paper and is giving a start-up fund of $37.50 to pay for their free double roll Scott tissue but that is for the first 35-45 people who show up at the Black On Black office at 1000 E. 87th Street which is the WVON studio’s that was once the home of the Gardner’s Soft Sheen Products they began decades ago. “They will use this $37.50 start-up money to reinvest and grow,” said Gardner.

Potential customers will easily identify those lucky applicants because they will have a very visible roll of toilet paper taped to their hats as they sell their product on the streets of Chicago.

“When you’re driving down the street and you see them, they are selling toilet tissue for the purpose of developing more love and respect within the black community and their prices are competitive…,” said Gardner.

“You will see them with a roll of toilet paper taped on their hats so you can see this is Black On Black Love selling out there trying to build a business, trying to help themselves and realizing that they have the ability to reinvest their money and make a bigger profit. It’s called the American free enterprise.”

“They can sell this toilet paper anywhere, on the street corners, any place of business, to a friend. Toilet tissue is a commodity that we have to have everyday. Why not sell it to ourselves instead of (buying it at) some of these big grocery stores”? asked Gardner. “Besides, some of those grocery stores are not looking out for us in getting our fair share of jobs.”

This program is being promoted by the Black on Black Love Campaign (BOBL) that was created by Mr. Gardner, former co-chair and founder of the Soft Sheen Products, Inc. in January of 1983 after one of his African American female employees was shot during a robbery attempt. He took out ads and waged a media campaign to replace black-on-black crime with his Black on Black Love Campaign. The BOBL’s mission is to help break the cycles of crime in the black community.

Gardner has a different mission in 2012—to get African Americans placed on construction sites and to assist and encourage them to become entrepreneurs. Several weeks ago while driving down 95th Street he came across a group of young black men selling drugs. While driving a few blocks further west he came upon a construction site where non-blacks were working.

 That sparked his campaign to get African Americans working on these construction sites both in Chicago and in Evergreen Park where Mayor James Sexton is working closely with him on his mission. Recently, Mayor Rahm Emanuel met with Mr. Gardner who will today brief the community on that meeting. In the interim, Gardner has been busy creating a program that can help motivated African Americans build their own businesses.

“The Black on Black Love is concerned with creating love, respect and self-discipline for young men and women who think twice before they hire one another. There is nothing more beautiful than a human being. I am asking our men and women, please, on this weekend, you do nothing but hire a fellow human being,” said Gardner.

He said when African Americans are working it gives them a sense of self worth and pride knowing that “they earned this money. They became a businessperson. They reinvested their money and made more profits.”

 “This is a one time offer and is extended to the first 35-45 patrons who qualify,” said Gardner. Each applicant will get 30 rolls of toilet paper worth $1.25 each for a start-up fund of $37.50 free from Mr. Gardner.

 Gardner said to reorder toilet paper, 10 rolls will cost $8.00 for a $5.00 profit for the vendor, 20 rolls will cost $14.00 for an $11.00 profit, and 30 rolls will cost $22.00 for a profit of $15.00. The suggested retail price per toilet paper roll is $1.25.

 Distribution will begin Wednesday, October 17, 2012. For further information, contact Francis Wright or Doris at the Black On Black Love program, 773-978-0868.

C.O.A.L. officials will lay out the next step in Mr. Gardner’s fight for equity on construction sites.

 

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