Meet Shawanda Coble, Owner of Coble’s Landing – Coble’s Landing is the perfect example of a safe space that is leaps and bounds outside of the original concept. Owned by Rex and Shawanda Coble of Charlotte, NC; Coble’s Landing is 25 acres of natural, untouched land that has been transformed into the ultimate safe space. Like most families that loved the outdoors, the Coble’s would frequent public areas to hike, fish, and enjoy the time along with their children but it began to be a little hard to ignore the disparities within the outdoor community and People of Color. While the “Nature Gap” was no surprise to the Coble’s, they were not going to allow it from keeping the experience from their family. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Rex was forced to take some time off from his successful barbershop in Charlotte and had time to spend in his hometown of Burnsville, NC. As he returned to his roots, he saw an opportunity to fill a void. Not less than five minutes from where Rex grew up was an available mass amount of land that held every element that the Coble family loved about the outdoors. After researching the land and planning out how the space would serve a purpose to the community, the Coble’s purchased the acres in October of 2020 owning what would be the first Black-Owned nature preserve in the southeast and the second on the entire east coast.
What is the name of your business?
Why is your business a business to watch in 2021?
Coble’s Landing was created to be a safe space for people of color to enjoy nature. Our 25 acres will be able to host a variety of events for our community.
What inspired you to start your business?
To reclaim our land and create generational wealth. Owning land is one of the greatest forms of currency that is sustainable throughout future generations.
How did 2020 change your business? Was it for the better?
We were able to purchase 25 acres in 2020. While the world was in a pandemic we seized the opportunity to focus on clearing out the land and beginning to develop it little by little.
What lessons did you learn in your business in 2020?
Even in the face of adversity, an opportunity will present itself. 2020 allowed a lot of time for planning. We were forced to stay home and isolate ourselves from others. During those days of quarantine, a lot of research and planning was able to get completed.
What kind of impact do you want your business to leave on your client or customer?
We would like our guests to feel relaxed, safe, respected, and close to nature. This space will be available for a variety of cultural events.
Do you feel your product or service meets the needs of the market?
Absolutely. COVID19 has placed outdoor spaces as the most sought-after venue. Coble’s Landing is about an hour away from uptown Charlotte, which makes it a perfect space to visit or host events.
What hurdles did you personally face in getting ready to open your business and how did you overcome them?
The biggest hurdle has been developing 25 acres from scratch during a pandemic. Our development plans have been delayed but It’s difficult to secure concrete investors and/or donors in the middle of a pandemic.
When did you realize entrepreneurship was right for you?
It’s something that I have always been interested in but COVID19 gave me an opportunity to really dive in. I had time to plan and actually think about how I could do it and actually support my family.
Why did you choose entrepreneurship?
Entrepreneurship grants me peace of mind. I have control and flexibility.
What would you say is your most driving motivation to keep doing what you do?
Our desire to create generational wealth, instill the value of family, develop pride in our community and continue to take back what belong to us land and culture.
What are you most excited or passionate about? (In both business and life or both)
I am very passionate about our youth and the programs/services that support them. Our youth is truly our greatest resource and it our responsibility to nurture and cultivate them.
What are the goals you most want to accomplish in your business? What are the goals that you hold personally?
One of the main goals is to be recognized as a culturally safe space for people of color. Personally, I am focused on connecting with youth programs that will fully benefit from the therapeutic atmosphere at Coble’s Landing.
Did you have any key mentors or people who deeply influenced who you are, what you believe in and what you’re committed to in your work and life? Tell me about them.
There are several women that have inspired and influenced me from my mother, aunts, grandmother and godmother to Ida B Wells, Oprah (who I met when I was 8), Celia Cruz and countless others. I’ve learned that every women’s journey is filled with curves, speed bumps, stop signs, roundabouts and even dead ends. Triumphant women drive on, through it all, sometimes we reach destinations that we didn’t know were on our map.
Did you have any life-changing experiences that put you on the path that led you to be doing what you’re doing today? Tell me about them.
I have always been fascinated by the healing powers of nature and herbs. Although I grew up in the city both of my grandmothers had full gardens. They always taught that nature provides all, food, medicine, and even joy.
What’s next for you in your business? What can readers look forward to from you? We are looking to continue our development and open the space up to the youth to provide that outlet. Get our community back to nature.