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Family-owned Black business sees employee satisfaction as key to success

Local packaging company rebounds, expands following economic crisis
By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer


Eighth in a series
Joseph Wallace last week told the MSR that his business, Independent Packing Services, Inc. (IPSI), is “doing six figures” in annual revenues. Wallace is president of IPSI, one of several local Black-owned businesses that employ many workers, in his case “just under 50 employees.”

He believes it is the only Black-owned packaging and crating firm in the nation, but he quickly points out, “I don’t necessarily look at [it] as being a minority business or a trailblazer. I would look at it as the type of product we deliver in this

region; we’re definitely at the top of the food chain of delivering heavy industrial design and packaging to our clients. I’m very proud of my ethnicity, but that’s not how I think in terms of my business.”

IPSI is a transport packaging firm started by his father in 1976, who according to Wallace “has been in business for himself since the age of 26. “We design and manufacture transport packaging — customized crating for anything from fine artwork to heavy electronics to heavy industrial equipment” — for major commercial customers in the medical, government, transportation and industrial industry, explains the three-year president. Continue Reading →

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Ken Davis: the face of success for Minnesota Black business

Grandmother’s recipe generates millions of dollars across the Midwest

First in a muli-part series
By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer


After Ken Davis closed his take-out restaurant in Edina after owning it for a year, he physically took his homemade barbecue sauce on the road to local supermarkets to sell it. “There was more than one discouraging word” when Davis made his decision to market his sauce, recalls Barbara Davis. “We did receive lots of discouraging words. It was hard to market barbecue sauce. [Some] people said they don’t eat barbecue sauce – it’s like eating hot sauce to them and they weren’t interested.”

Her late husband’s bio on www.ken says that the discouragers included the Small Business Administration that “thought he was crazy,” and banks and financiers resisted his requests as well. Continue Reading →

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‘Fierce urgency’ stressed at MLK Breakfast

Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund, told nearly 2,000 people attending the 23rd annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Breakfast January 21, “We need to wake up.” 

Specifically, she urged the sold-out audience at the Minneapolis Convention Center and the live TV audience watching on TPT (Twin Cities Public Television) to wake up to the consequences of failing to improve the educational disparities that pose dangerous implications for the future of our country: “Will the United States be a beacon or a blip in history? “We need to recognize that we have to invest now,” Edelman said, “and invest with urgency and with persistence so that we can give every child a chance to be able to function, work and contribute in this very complex, changing world and economy.”

A graduate of Spelman College and Yale Law School, Edelman began her career in the mid-1960s when, as the first African American woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar, she directed the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund office in Jackson, Miss. In 1968, she moved to Washington, D.C. as counsel for the Poor People’s Campaign that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. began organizing before his death. In 1973 she founded the Children’s Defense Fund. Under her leadership, it has become one of the United States’ strongest advocates for children and families. Continue Reading →

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