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Jerome Boykin Jr., 27
When Black Enterprise last caught up with Jerome Boykin Jr., he was at the helm of a nine-employee commercial parking lot maintenance company in southern Louisiana. Launching the company in January 2006 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Boykin frankly explained during the photo shoot how he “saw the opportunity, saw a need, and filled it.” But while many of Boykin’s friends scoffed at the idea of cleaning parking lots, the young businessman followed his father’s advice and did it anyway, grossing $850,000 in revenue in 2008. With major local contracts from large retailers — Wal-Mart and Lowe’s — Boykin found his competitive advantage: customer service.
“We purposely set the bar high for ourselves,” Boykin says. “Of course, there are a few people who’ve tried to underbid me, but I have good relationships with my clients and offer such quality work that they’re not even entertaining the idea of taking a chance on them.”