A New Chapter in the History of the Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce
by Cheryl D. Howard, Contributing Writer
In October 2021, the Sacramento City Council designated a midtown law office building as a historic landmark. The 4,000 square foot building located at 1810 “S” Street was owned and housed by Sacramento’s first African American Attorney, Nathaniel Colley. Colley was known during those times as a civil rights advocate who spent a majority of his law career fighting in the courts to end segregation in education, housing, voting rights, and in the workplace. He is credited for providing African Americans the ability to have equal opportunity in applying for and receiving public housing. He was responsible for many victories on behalf of the Sacramento African American community. Colley commissioned Sacramento’s first Black architect, James C. Dodd, to design the building.
Hallelujah! It was a unanimous vote by the Sacramento City Council to deem the building historic and to have it placed on the Sacramento Register of Historic and Cultural Resources. Now, what is as astounding is that recently the Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce (SBCC) closed on the $1,500,000-plus purchase of this historic building! They are the new owners! THE HUB spoke briefly to SBCC President and CEO Azizza Davis Goines, and her first response to us was in regard to this purchase was, “We feel amazing!”
The building has gone through many iterations since its erection in 1967. Goines recalls it being a health clinic for pregnant women when she worked in the building soon after arriving in Sacramento.
The chronicle of events that led to the SBCC being the proud owners is nothing short of a miracle. The seller’s broker personally contacted Goines and the SBCC to see if they would be interested in tossing their hat into the ring towards purchasing this building. There were two other bids on the table for the purchase, but with the expertise and savvy of Real Estate Broker Zoritha Thompson of Goree & Thompson Real Estate, Inc., the SBCC was able to secure the winning bid. The SBCC wanted their own representation, so they did not hesitate in hiring Thompson. Since joining the team, Thompson was invaluable in making this historical purchase happen. Goines spoke about how important it is to surround yourself with experts in fields that you are not.
“I have been in the position of President/CEO for 15 years with the SBCC, but I don’t have all the answers. I don’t think that you need to have all the answers; instead, I think you need to surround yourself with people that have the answers you’re searching for, and more importantly, those people have to be people that you trust,” Goines stated.
Goines and Thompson have a long history that links them directly with the SBCC. The SBCC has been in service for approximately 36 years, with Goines leading the chapter through much success. As of December 2021, the chapter has over 400 members. However, when Goines first started with the SBCC, she admits that they were extremely short on financial resources. She asked Thompson for a loan to help pay the rent. Thompson graciously gave of what she had to help them keep a roof over their heads. The SBCC has long since paid her back, but the relationship has continued. Thompson once sat on the board of directors for the SBCC, and she continues to be a member.
Goree & Thompson Real Estate, Inc. was founded in 1996 by Thompson and her late beloved business partner, Carolyn J. Goree, who passed away two years after the company’s launch. As the CEO/Broker/Founder, Thompson has led the firm in closing over 2500 transactions for their corporate clients alone. However, this is one of the most exciting transactions for Thompson. She shared with us that it has left her without words to describe.
Another person who was also instrumental in this historic purchase was Goines’ business manager and her absolute go-to person, Marilyn Sakai of Lee and Sakai. According to Goines, Sakai is an outstanding manager who has played a major role in decision making and keeping the SBCC books.
New history will be made in the new building. They will continue to hold classes for small businesses to teach them how to run their businesses. One of their best programs, the Young Leadership Collaborative (YLC) is designed to teach young adults how to be effective entrepreneurs. It is open to ages 16-23. The students must be interviewed, write an essay, and hold no less than a 3.0 GPA to get in. Each student graduating from the program receives a scholarship and has the opportunity to travel on an annual excursion to Tanzania, East Africa. COVID has halted the annual trip, but Goines anticipates that they may be able to make this trip in the upcoming year.
“We’re expanding our services to make sure all small businesses are getting the proper training and tools to grow their businesses,” Goines shared.
She also said they are expanding outside the Sacramento area to accomplish this.
Until their move into the building at the end of May 2022, the SBCC will be landlords. They also intend to lease 3 to 4 offices out to member businesses on June 1st. Contact the SBCC for information on availability. Their proposed Grand Opening will be on the glorified date of June 19th, 2022, in time to celebrate Juneteenth. What a fitting date to solidify history.
Thompson is grateful to be a part of the SBCC and to be a part of new history to be made.
“I really appreciate the SBCC and Azizza Goines for setting the example for businesses owning their own building and also utilizing the services of the Chamber for their own businesses,” said Thompson.
This move, no doubt, will take the SBCC to the next level.
To learn more about making your commercial real estate purchase with Goree & Thompson Real Estate Inc., call (916) 601-7653.