"I was selling chips and candy bars down at the penitentiary. I was the store man at the penitentiary. It's the closest thing to what I was doing. It's like being in the mix of selling something and making something off of something. So, this is the closest thing to that. It's what it is. I don't work no cash register, turn a computer on, nothing. This is my calling, though. The grilling came after the store. I just needed a draw. I needed something to bring more attention. I can't get my liquor license or my lottery because I'm a convicted felon, so I needed something to bring more business in. That grill will do it.
Find a garage or something. See, they ain't gonna tell us that it's that easy to start a business. You ain't gotta do nothing but get a tax I.D. number and make a name up and call it something. There you go. I didn't know nothing about starting a business. I ride past this shit, everyday, and think 'Damn, I gotta store and I'm the Store Man.' Get you a location and get you a building. You can put a name on a house with a tax I.D. number and it's a business. It's simple. It's definitely not hard at all. You gotta think about it, the other people ain't gonna tell us. They're hiding it from us. It's very simple.
I'll go in other stores and they don't even know that I'm a store owner. I watch how they do their thing and in the back of my mind, I'm thinking, 'I'm ordering from the same people y'all ordering from, we got the same distributers'. I can tell them where they got it from, how much it cost, their percentage and all that.
The people, customers, and the neighborhood motivate me. You gotta respect it. This is my neighborhood. I've been in this neighborhood my whole life. I'm riding around on my high horse, man. They don't even call me by my name no more, they call me the Store Man. I wake up, go hard and strive for it everyday to keep this.
I got out prison in 2012 and that was the happiest moment of my life; the rebirth. March 1, 2012 was the rebirth. I got to start over. I had a murder case, I went down for murder. They handed me 50 years. I ain't supposed to be here. I ended up getting 12 and doing 8. Now, I'm back.
Start being who you wanted to be. Start doing what you said you was going to do when you was in there. At least try it. This right here is a platform for me and all my homeboys. My partners on parole and probation don't have to worry about finding a job. It's alright, I'll hire you. I can put us on in a different way. It's good money. It's slow money but good money.
The three things that the West needs is more black owned business, more respect from the police, and togetherness. Quit hating on each other. Come together like the bigger cities. We need more support from our people.
This year, we getting more dough and we don't have to go to the penitentiary behind it. We're about to open up everything. I gotta kids clothing store coming. We're on a mission in 2018. We're not going to the penitentiary in 2018, we're going to the bank. That's the outlook." - Tana a.k.a. Store Man, Russell