Doing Black Business in Charlotte

by Terry Watson | July 21st, 2020
Deanna Smith (Photos by Todd Youngblood)

Deanna Smith (Photos by Todd Youngblood)

It is all about making moves, and making those moves count. That is what Deanna Smith is all about. She is one of Charlotte’s ambitious business women.

When presented with the question of why she considers herself to be one of Charlotte’s strongest business people her reply was clear. “It is due to my continued expansion and growth in all of the things real estate, REO, and title and financing for businesses. It is also because of my ability to stay afloat and remain stable through these unprecedented times of global pandemonium, and being able to start multiple businesses and continue to provide opportunities for others.”

Real estate is not what Deanna Smith of Charlotte, NC set out to pursue. For 16 years, she served the state of New York as a Corrections Officer with the Department of Corrections. She also owned and operated not one, but two childcare facilities along with mothering four children.

When she was presented with the opportunity of becoming a Federal Agent in 2002, she jumped at the chance and relocated her family to Charlotte for the job. After settling in the Queen City, she started to miss interacting with young children, so she worked part-time at a childcare facility. She also decided to become a foster parent to make an even greater impact, eventually adopting two infant girls. Suddenly the mom of six (her two adult children do not reside in the home) was stretched to her limit. That’s when her full time job gave her an ultimatum. “They told me I could choose my job or choose my children. And I chose my children,” Deanna says confidently.

Running a full time real estate business and maintaining her family keeps Deanna’s cup running over, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. She is also very flexible and has proven that she can adjust to any situation and through adversity when needed.

While the world combats the Covid 19 pandemic, Deanna has also faced her set of challenges with the virus. “ COVID 19 has not negatively impacted my business, however it has given me the opportunity to pivot my business to profit. It has been an opportunity for growth, self-development and a newfound focus to expand my business and diversify my portfolio,” she shares.

Since COVID 19 arrived, she has developed multiple branches of her signature brand, Exclusive Realty. She also opened Exclusive Commercial Lending of which has opened the doors to business financing, lending, and the financial industry. She has opened her first non profit, Homeowners Pursuing Education ( H.O.P.E), and restructured Exclusive Title Agency to include mobile notary/ enotary signing services. There has also been an addition of a REO division within her current real estate company.

In the future, Deanna shares that her main goal is to continue to learn, and grow within the real estate and financial industry. She also is looking forward to becoming a mentor to other entrepreneurs and sharing her knowledge to assist others as much as possible.

Corey Newton footprint is all over the Queen City. Though, you will never hear him boast or brag about anything that he does for his community and its residents.

“I never change. You get the same Corey everyday. Some get frustrated, and some appreciate it. I’m stubborn at times because I’m super determined once I latch on. I’m honest and I give the truth. I have also built some strong individuals in my lifetime. I’m a great asset to any situation or person and I’ll give you the shirt off my back, but I will bless you with the knowledge on how to buy me one, he says.

Here is Corey’s story. “I came from a very small town called East Saint Louis, Illinois. 93% of the population are on welfare or state supported services. The town has only 30k residents yet manages 200 murders per year. I’ve had guns drawn on me regularly, and even walked past dead bodies. I have a level of PTSD that I’m sure needs to be washed and reprogrammed. That city though, created a hustle in me that I was making moves at 12 and 13 that paid bills like a grown man. For that, I do ask God for forgiveness,” he says.

“My real testimony comes June 5, 1992 on the day of my 11th birthday. I had no business being out at 11:00pm. I was standing next to a friend and his brother accidentally shot and killed him. We were so close to each other that I had his blood on my face and clothes. That changed my life.”

When it’s all said and done, Corey is a businessman. He is the owner of Queen City Capital Investments Groups, Unlimited Dreams Multimedia Services, Team Newton Cares Full 501C3. He is also an actor and lead character, traveling with the 30 year anniversary of “A Good Man is Hard To Find” production.

With Queen City Capital Investments Groups, he focuses on real estate acquisition and strategic development. Unlimited Dreams Multimedia Services is a full scale graphic design firm. Team Newton Cares Full 501C3 is a philanthropy organization catered to providing financial and supportive services to any community within the United States, with a concentration in the Charlotte area.

Corey started his first business in 2002, he shares it was the day after his son was born. “I started designing club fliers for Charlotte clubs and promoters. I started my charity organization in 2011. It began as a youth football program and blossomed into something very beautiful. We offer resume services, support services, and obligations for those who are homelessness. We provide back to school care packages and book bags, including haircuts and hairstyles. We also feed everyone for Thanksgiving, participate with Toys 4 Tots for Christmas, and more,” he says.

Corey started his real estate company in 2018. After working in corporate America for a while, he began acquiring his own properties. Now, he passed his knowledge and wealth down to his kids.
Moving forward, Corey has plans to continue preaching and reading the good words. He also has plans on establishing a beauty supply store in Charlotte, and a chili dog and potato company in Northlake Mall. “My mind creates million dollar ideas a day. There’s really no specific place where I mind land. So please stay tuned,” Corey says.

When the Boss Lady speaks someone must listen. Paranda Davis is often recognized as the Credit Beast. In her hometown of Charlotte, NC she continues to shake things up with new endeavors and projects.

How do you describe her in a few words? “I love what I do and I am very passionate about what I do. I don’t sugar coat anything when it comes to my clients. I go above and beyond for my clients by providing support every step of the way. Especially, with helping them achieve their credit goals. Sometimes we just need that push in life, but I firmly believe that it all starts with yourself first,” she says.

Paranda spends most of her time learning about saving money and buying real estate. Now with the impact of Covid-19, she has been forced to make a few necessary adjustments to satisfy the needs of her clients. “Covid-19 has been a huge challenge for employees and especially employers. The business has been impacted due to the amount of customers that are used to coming into the office, and no longer are able to come in without setting an appointment first. Safety is our number one priority and we have made changes to our policies and procedures. We’ve lowered our rates to help those who were affected by the economic crisis due to Covid 19. We had a promotion giving special rates to our first responders and medical workers. We understand the hardships our clients faced and are committed to meeting them during their time of need,” she says.

Though born in Charlotte, Paranda’s late grandparents, Raymond and Velma Davis, raised her on a farm in Norwood, N.C. along with 16 children of their own. Her mother gave birth to her as a teenager, but her grandparents decided they would step in to make sure she and her younger sister were raised in a stable house, as Jehovah’s Witnesses, with two loving parents and a host of aunts and uncles to watch over them.

Besides being known as the Credit Beast, Paranda owns several businesses including a non-profit organization, Boys and Girls Dream Chasers, Inc that focuses on financial literacy and mental health. She also has purchased several investment properties. Her advice to others on how to survive the Covid-19 pandemic is to be creative and inventive. “This is a seller’s market and the perfect time to invest. Use this time to be creative and invest into things that will bring you money back or hold sentimental value such as real estate, gold, and life insurance. One thing we can not overlook is our kids’ education. We have a virus going around that there isn’t a cure for. We don’t know what our future holds for us. Invest and get tutoring services for your kids and stay home,” she says.

While anything is possible to happen for Paranda in the future, being the sound businesswoman that she is, plans have already been made by her. She plans to stay well connected to her immediate community and branch outside its walls. “It is my goal to share my brand and life experiences with everyone who seeks them. I am a survivor of many things and I love helping others overcome as well. It all begins with being prepared,” she says.

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