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LaRese Purnell

The Real Black Friday founder continues to champion Cleveland by giving back to the Black community.

Life has come full circle for Purnell. Once homeless as a child, today he is the co-owner and managing partner of CLE Consulting Firm, a downtown accounting, tax and payroll company that’s pivoted to ensuring businesses stay open during the pandemic, and a co-owner of Cajun-Creole restaurant Black Box Fix. As the founder of the Real Black Friday, he’s devoted to giving back by encouraging small business development and financial literacy within the Black community. 

As a child, he, his sisters and his single mother would ride the bus to a church in Shaker Heights where they would feed those in need, returning to the homeless shelter where they lived after. “[My mother] really embedded that in us at a young age that you always give back, and it became second nature to me.” 

Purnell holds an MBA in finance from the University of Toledo and authored the book Financial Foundations, Building Financial Freedom One Tool at a Time. He cites the individuals and small businesses he’s helped as an inspiration. “I was able to educate them on the importance of building assets, and it inspires me when I see people grow and create wealth for their families.” 

In 2015, Purnell created the Real Black Friday, a directory that promotes 300-400 local, Black-owned businesses as a way to provide additional support. Among his favorites are UJerk Caribbean Eatery, the Gentlemen’s Cave Luxury Barber Lounge and the shops at GlenVillage, home to one of two Black Box Fix locations. “It’s a seven-store location with all small Black-owned businesses that are trying to scale. I enjoy frequenting and supporting them.” 

When the pandemic hit, Purnell helped mobilize volunteers from the Real Black Friday to deliver more than 100,000 hot meals to area housing developments and seniors.

(article from Cleveland Magazine)

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