Its been quite a month.
I've actually rewritten this a few times. I didn't know how I wanted to write this. From solely the company perspective...my own or just wing it with run on sentences and make anyone of particular journalistic integrity cringe.
So I continue without a care.
ROCKDEEP | RDevine opened a store May 4th in Old Town Alexandria. Less than a month later May 25th we opened up our third store in Oxon Hill aka The National Harbor in Maryland.
Sounds good so far right. Ride with me here, as this isn't a short diatribe.
It's been unreal with the social media coverage and even some radio. However I decided with all that's been going on, if I was going to see it all in writing or hear it, I wanted to make sure I filled in the gaps.. so this ladies and gentlemen is in my words.
It all started with an interview on the Angie Ange morning show in the Washington, DC area at the end of black history month and more recently an interview on the Power Block with Mike Jones and LaToya Foster. All with Radio One (Urban One) in the DC market.
I have to say both interviews were fun to do, and as different as they can get as far as radio goes I didn't get to cover everything.
On Angie's show we discussed the business and challenges and some items regarding how we came to be.
On The Power Block we discussed not only that but financial stability, life and not just the struggles some talk about ...but the ones most don't.
You tend to be limited in radio because everything is on a clock, and while I had much more time and freedom on Mike & LaToya's show, I always feel afterwards, that I could have discussed so much more.
It's pretty much the only reason I miss my old radio day's being able to pick back up after a commercial and keep it going. Kevin and I would go 3 to 4 hours on anything we wanted and some how tie sports into it.
That's why folks wonder if and when we are ever coming back...but thats another story for another time....
..I digress so lets get back to why I did this blog post.
I did one earlier in the month after the first opening called "More than a black owned business." It was just that. To explain why we were more than just a black owned business. It's worth the read.
After doing interviews and opening the actual Oxon Hill location, the pride and excitement I knew I would have was real. I don't show much emotion, because it's just how we Parrish's were raised. So other's may have seen the happiness I exuded subtly.
Seeing the pride on other's faces was something I couldn't put a price on and is really the only time I I really soak it in.
The story my buddy and former colleague in radio Mark F. Gray did for the Afro was amazing. It has almost 11K hits, which HAS to be the most views for the site in 2019.
I hope to get half that on any of my blogs / write up's.... and that brings me to why Im writing the rest of this.
With all the appreciation I have for those who covered ROCKDEEP and RDevine and what we have done to get here...I am not alone in wondering why there aren't more in the media (Black or otherwise) covering not just ROCKDEEP but businesses like ours who accomplish feats like this.
You will see coverage on retailers closing daily. Folks losing jobs, and here we are and others like us providing more jobs within not only the Oxon Hill communities, but other's around and across the bridge from the National Harbor.
I oft (yes oft) wonder out loud if my name were John Haberstein (no slight on anyone named Haberstein) if the coverage wouldn't be different.
We all know that if ROCKDEEP shuts down and/ or there is scandal involved, it will not only reach local airwaves but nationally. Not only will those waiting on us to fail hear about it, but those who still haven't heard about us.
So who is it up to to make sure the word gets out?
Each person reading this. Sharing is not just caring, but as my cousin Troy says to folks who pass by our newest location, "spreading the word is more powerful than money."
Let that resonate for as long as you need.
(this is where I place a random picture to keep your attention)
This isn't some rocket science discovery of course. Every business owner large and small knows the word of mouth advertising is the best one can ever have.
Yet in our community, we can either catch like fire or go no where at all. Of course the business owner shares in some of that responsibility, but as I say often (not oft).
"We are a fickle people."
We will ask a business owner who is black these questions which we never ask ANYONE else.
- Where is this made?
- What are you doing for the community?
- Can I get a discount?
- Can I get a deal?
There's more but I have to keep your attention and not offend too many who know's this could be them.
I get it.
We are and will remain skeptical of our own. I can say that only a few pilgrims have ever patronized our store while I was there and asked any of those questions except one. Where our products were made.
Yet.. as a good owner should always do with a smile, instead of asking why you are counting our money or trying to take money out of our pockets by asking for the hook up, we try and answer your questions with a smile.
While I created ROCKDEEP to provide an alternative to your fathers favorite brand, which I also grew up with, I created it because I refused to sell back to MY people or anyone else for that matter something myself could not afford growing up.
So when folks pass by the store and we let them know it's black owned.. some fill up with pride. Some change their steps up and double back.
Then there are those who turn their nose up at the notion of "Everything is $100".
Yes this has happened more times than I can count...and while I am not bothered by it. I feel bad for those who live beyond their means but have to have $150 + kicks.
Something I learned long ago is we wear high priced things for others. We wear and purchase reasonable good looking things for ourselves.
Some like to be original. I appreciate the ones who just want to support. What I really want is not to be a black owned business...but a business that happens to be owned by a black man.
Why? Not because I don't love being black...shooooot. I wouldn't change BLACKNESS to save YOUR life.
However, the stat of 70% of our business is supported by white women is real.
I have a sign outside our new location that says:
GRAND OPENING BUT IF YOU DON'T SUPPORT>>>GRAND CLOSING.
For this location this is the absolute truth. Because we are located in Oxon Hill Murland. (Maryland to the rest of you).
When it comes to the business itself... no we will not fail. We didn't fail to this point without the en mass support of my people, so we don't plan on going anywhere....but just think.
What IF. What if 10% of those who looked like me supported us in the state of Maryland. The United States... The World?
We would compete with the likes of the other's you wear on your feet.
We don't want you to throw the other kicks away...but we can't give back to our communities without you supporting.
So let me give you a secret we have not shared on any interviews yet.
We are in the process of opening one (1) more store in the Washington, DC area.
Then with the help of my commercial real estate agent Tracy Edwards, we are finalizing our franchise model.
We are giving every day folks the opportunity to own a ROCKDEEP franchise. This gives people like you the chance to have ownership. Not stock, not mutual funds, not sneakers...but a business.
Financial stability with a known company. The ability to have a franchise in your home town or state. Selling black owned products.
This allows us as a company to open up apparel factories in communities all around the United States which are underserved.
This also allows kids in those areas to know you don't have the choices to only be an athlete or entertainer to do great things.
One of the first factories will be in my birthplace of Vicksburg Mississippi.
Did anyone catch what I just dropped?
We are planning to open FACTORIES in underserved communities around the United States.
This can provide jobs, opportunities and even more for everyday people who are affected by what's going on in today's climate.
They say the job market is the best it's ever been and unemployment is the lowest it's ever been.
I'd say ask those who are out of jobs across America.
What happens when you open factories for folks to work in and provide for their family? They become brand loyal. The brand grows. The brand can do even more for that community.
We are not here to have me the CEO on lists of being a Billionaire. We are here to grow our business and by default grow communities and the opportunities everyone can have.
The economy is doing well for those on Wall Street.
Im not sure this pertains to everyone else. Folks say expendable income. I've always wondered... what the F*#% is that?
But it starts with me and with the help of you asking about our brand in other stores.. or asking your local media to cover brands like ours and others or you will ..say it out loud.. BOYCOTT..
Heck you've boycotted for far less right?
So with all that being said. I'll show you the mouths I am feeding and because I love the hell out of all 7 of my kids (yes 7th and last born April 12th)
So thanks for riding out this long read with me and I would be remiss if I didn't let you know. If you share nothing else.. share our website
and for the folks on the gram. @ROCKDEEPGLOBAL
You will get all the latest information there.
I'll end with this. Let your children know no matter what complexion, what area you're from...
They can't be anything they want in life... they can be everything they want.
If a dude who dressed like this and wasn't the coolest mug until I was about 32 years old can do big things... so can they.
....and Im not finished yet.
If you want to know more about ROCKDEEP spelled ROCKDEEP not RockDeep or ROCKD DEEP or Rockdeep or anything else.. check out our website or instagram page.
For those looking for more than fun in journalism, you are looking in the wrong place.
- Rocky Parrish