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Cleveland Gary is an ex-NFL running back who currently devotes his time to promoting small businesses with extensive marketing tools.
Cleveland Gary is currently involved with two business ventures, the Health Shopping Network (HSN) and the Black Shopping Channel (BSC), both founded in 2006. Gary’s philosophy is to transform communities and promote healthy living through an array of products and mentorship programs. The HSN aims to specifically foster healthy habits by selling natural products, while the BSN targets small business entrepreneurs.
Cleveland Gary is extremely proud of the niche he has carved out of the business world, and of the growth these two networks have demonstrated. The Healthy Shopping Network promises customers “Natural Solutions For Wellness and Healthy Living.” Consumers can find products ranging from allergy relief, to migraine treatment, to pet care, to weight management. HSN evolved out of Gary’s reaction to his father being diagnosed with diabetes; he realized that the foods we eat are packed with sugar and other unnecessary ingredients that wreak havoc on our physiologies. Therefore, the network was born to promote a way for individuals to access healthy, green foods. Additionally, HSN promotes holistic wellness so fewer people will need to experience the same horror of hearing that a loved one has been diagnosed with a preventable disease.
The BSC, whose motto is “Moving Forward, Giving Back” is (in a sense) the world’s largest black mall. The channel sells goods in categories similar to an average department store: jewelry, fashion, home and kitchen, toys, and electronics. Gary believes that every entrepreneur can make it big with the proper know-how, and he wants to foster success and motivation his peers in the black business community.
Cleveland Gary hasn’t always been a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist. He was born on May 4, 1966 in Stuart, Florida. He began his college career as a football player at the University of Georgia; later, he transferred to play for the Hurricanes at the University of Miami. Before being drafted into the National Football League, he was voted Most Valuable Player in the college Senior Bowl.
In 1989, he was selected in the first round of the NFL draft by the Los Angeles Rams; he was the 26th selected player in that draft. Cleveland Gary played for the Rams for four years before moving back to his home state and joining the Miami Dolphins, whom he stayed with until he retired from the NFL in 1994. His football career was remarkable; he ended his tenure with a total of 2, 645 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns. In 1990, he scored 14 rushing touchdowns, leading the NFL for the year.
Perhaps one of the most memorable highlights of Gary’s professional football career was his inspiring effort to stop the 1989-1990 San Francisco 49ers from winning an all-time record of 19 straight games. In that one streak-ending game alone, Cleveland scored three touchdowns –including one on a disputed pass from fullback Buford McGee.
Cleveland Gary also enjoyed a brief stint with the National Indoor Football League. Before the league disbanded in 2007, Gary was the registered Florida agent and represented several teams, including the Green Cove Lions. Rather than viewing the collapse of the NIFL as a setback, Gary seized the opportunity to launch his two shopping channels in 2006. HSN and BSC both allow Gary to exercise his philanthropic interests.
In particular, the BSC is an excellent avenue for untrained entrepreneurs to establish a network of mentors and learn about the mechanics of small business and marketing. Gary’s passion for imparting knowledge to these new businessmen takes him to cities around the country, where he shares his invaluable knowledge. By fostering the growth of small local businesses, communities can feel bonded more strongly together. The trick for Gary is showing entrepreneurs exactly how they can adapt his methods of marketing to a local or national television audience into styles that will benefit their own individual enterprises. In fact, the BSC often picks up products from these independent businesspeople, offering them millions of dollars in potential income. Such exposure also gives company owners the chance to amplify their unique message to the masses. Customers are incentivized to shop the BSC by combinations of alluring perks. For example, coupons and discounted prices are distributed for various products and services. Additional deals range from holiday hotel trips, three to seven-day vacations with your family, romantic trips to Hawaii or Las Vegas, restaurant coupons and resort discounts for more than 1,000 places.
Gary works diligently to ensure customer happiness so that small businesses gain sufficient exposure on the BSC website. In doing so, he aims to improve their sales and give them an opportunity to impact their communities. Gary urges any small business owners who may be confused about what step to take next with the marketing of their firms to not miss out on the amazing opportunities for advertising and expansion through the BSC. In years past, Gary has donated more than $1 million in total to a fund for supporting new entrepreneurs.
What does Cleveland Gary tell new business owners at such meetings across the nation? He generally offers a few key tips for beefing up a new business endeavor. For example, license your products because allowing nearby stores and companies to sell them will only increase your exposure and profit margins. Collaborate with local businessmen; these are the professionals who truly comprehend the local behaviors and can help explain what niche you should be targeting. Perhaps you will even discover that merging businesses is the best solution for all parties at the table. Expand your market; rebranding may allow customers to see your business in a whole new light, opening up previously unused avenues of opportunity. And finally, when in doubt, franchise your business. Opening a new store may not be possible for every owner, but franchising is an easy way to see new growth without overly much hassle on the part of the original business owner.
Cleveland Gary also donates his time to aid charity baseball and basketball teams in South Florida; he enjoys positively impacting communities and seeing them benefit. He also enjoys traveling, which is part of what makes his career with the BSC so enjoyable. He has even hosted a local radio show, “The Cleveland Gary Show,” in his home state of Florida. The show focuses on additional topics of entrepreneur empowerment. To further his educational media campaign, Gary has also published a book entitled “The Truth Behind The Ball.” Overall, while some might see Gary’s journey as unconventional, he views his athletic background as the perfect springboard for the world of business; professional sports taught him the dedication and work ethic necessary to make your way in the business world.
Gary holds his other network, the HSN, to the same high standards. HSN is operated by AMI Capital Group, of which Cleveland Gary is the President. AMI is also responsible for endowing the million-dollar fund to support aspiring entrepreneurs. As a public company, stockholders can purchase shares directly from HSN to avoid brokerage fees, although potential investors are required to undergo a questionnaire to qualify. In all of his ventures, Cleveland Gary ultimately strives to provide the highest-quality service and customer satisfaction.
Cleveland Gary has been an entrepreneur for over 20 years; he knows how difficult the road can be. As such, when he looks forward, he hopes to continue encouraging other small businesspeople to move forward and find success. Even Cleveland Gary himself struggled before discovering how to promote his networks; he considers himself a living example of success through hard work. Millions of small business owners are struggling every day, contemplating giving up on their dreams, but Cleveland Gary knows that their vision is the key to maintaining the American dream. It is these small business that unite communities together and give towns a sense of identity, so as long as Cleveland Gary can continue to indulge his passion for travel, he will keep spreading his entrepreneurial message and knowledge. With just a few key tips—constructing fresh content, repurposing old ideas, brainstorming, and endorsing sponsors and mentors—entrepreneurs can help each other succeed like never before.
Sports have been an integral part of Cleveland Gary’s life—no one can deny that. To promote his own fitness and well-being into his later years, he will continue his pursuits of charitable games. If even a percentage of HSN customers find relief from their ailments through Gary’s efforts to promote well-being and healthful eating, then the venture will have been worth it. Perhaps the health-conscious effort that Gary would most like to focus on promoting in the future is Ge-Veggie Food Plus, a green whole food that is comprised of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that too many Americans are lacking in their diets. By promoting natural, green foods, Cleveland Gary hopes to deter the sort of preventable illness that caused his own family so much pain in the past. With some proper marketing and education efforts, Gary knows the future can bring HSN and BSC previously unseen levels of achievement.
08/1985 to 05/1989
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