Leslie Giscombe stands at the intersection of owning his business and epitomizing the office of president of the African American Entrepreneurs Club.
The journey has been successful for Giscombe, who, while living in Flagler County for 25 years, was traveling throughout the Caribbean operating his own line of nutraceuticals for pharmacies and health food stores.
He put the business into practice by introducing the products to doctors and for medical conferences and pharmaceutical retreats.
He recently mentioned at his office, “I had to stop traveling because I had kids, and my wife was giving me an ultimatum.”
His wife, Arlene, was of the mindset that they did not leave Brooklyn for her to raise four children alone.
A game changer
Until this “aha” moment – and the building industry taking an upward swing – Giscombe then opened a kitchen and bath studio.
He developed five to six custom builders and, with his crew, completed their custom designs and build-out for the lifestyle of the area’s rich.
Fifty percent of his business was expended servicing the builders, who were each constructing eight to a dozen homes a year – plus he had private customers.
He is a game changer – the only Black in the industry at the time of this sojourn, which lasted from 2002 to 2008.
The industry bottomed out!
Back to school
It was the right time for Giscombe to go back to school.
He started back in 2009 and did not stop for six years until receiving his MBA.
He earned his MBA in international business from the University of Florida at Gainesville as well as his Bachelor of Science degree in marketing and a minor in entrepreneurship.
He pointed out that in his last year at grad school, “I ran into a company that when the market was bad, discovered a way of changing the edges on laminate counter tops, so you wouldn’t see that black line – so it made it look like it was granite,” he said.
He grabbed the opportunity to take the custom-designed laminates on the road.
He made $54,000 in sales while finishing up grad school in 2015.
The same year, the Palm Coast Observer highlighted him in an edition that featured Ty Pennington of HGTV’s “Extreme Makeover.”
Giscombe, over the next two years, has grown to six figures due to his practice of certain business principles while operating his company, Countertop Designs.
At the same time, he expended more time with the African American Entrepreneurs Club – which does not make money – than he has earning the six figures, while servicing million-dollar homes in Plantation Bay.
Giscombe utilizes his office as the club’s headquarters and showcases the gorgeous laminates that are half the cost of granite and are heat-and-scratch resistant.
His office is located in Unit 61 at 2323 North State Street in the Atlantis Business Center of Bunnell.
The moral of the Leslie Giscombe story is his motivation:
He put his children through college and they earned degrees.
He used that premise and his status as an academician and entrepreneur for the gateway to give back and create the African American Entrepreneurs Club and becoming a mentor for the African-American Mentoring Program of the Flagler County School District.
With the club celebrating a one-year anniversary on Oct. 26, 2017, at the African American Cultural Society, Giscombe helps other entrepreneurs as well as engages other professionals to facilitate workshops and also teach economic development.
To inquire about membership, workshops or custom-designed laminates, call Giscombe at 386-243-2055.
Unity celebration set for Saturday
The Ninth Annual Flagler Ecumenical Celebration of Unity in Prayer and Song, taking place Jan. 20, 1-3 p.m., is coordinated by Dr. Chau T. Phan, and will feature a cavalcade of choirs from Flagler County.
Dr. Phan of the Christian Unity Ministry of Santa Maria del Mar Catholic Church is Associate Diocesan Ecumenical Officer of the Catholic Diocese of St. Augustine.
Pastor Gillard S. Glover of First Church is set to preach the homily and bring along his Youth Choir, directed by Nathaniel Shropshire, III.
Santa Maria del Mar Catholic Church – 915 N. Central Ave., Flagler Beach – can be accessed from the 900 block of North Daytona Avenue.
For further details, contact Santa Maria del Mar Catholic Church at 386-439-2791.
Public invited to NAACP address
Branch President Linda Sharpe Matthews has invited the community for the 2018 State of the NAACP address on Jan. 23, 6 p.m., at the African American Cultural Society, 4422 U.S. 1 North, Palm Coast.
For further details, contact the NAACP at 386-446-7822.
As always, remember our prayers for the sick, afflicted, the prodigal son, or daughter, and the bereaved.
Birthday wishes to Donald Jones, Jan. 18; Kilus White, Sr., Jan. 19; Gloria Wilder, Jan. 20; Raven Sword, Jan. 23; and Sheldon S. Henderson, Jan. 24.