How Two Black Hoteliers Plan To Honor Their Heritage From City To City

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There’s more to the root of a successful business than the quantitative details. Obviously, a non-negotiable strength is possessing organization skills. Equally as integral is being able to hone in on a specific and dedicated client base. But when you take away all the logistical trimmings, at the core of an entrepreneurial undertaking — especially one like Homage Hospitality — is faith. Marcus Carey, 28, and Damon Lawrence, 31, the two hoteliers at the helm of the nascent boutique hotel business, can remember the day they took a risk and bet on themselves with the security of nothing and no one but each other and God.

While waiting for the capital to purchase their first sought out property, an 85-plus-room building in Oakland now called The Town (a nickname for the California city), the Howard University alumni spent down hours driving for Uber and Lyft around the Bay Area, their home base. But a week after receiving verbal confirmation that they’d been approved for the contract for the building—mind you, no money had transferred yet—something moved the two of them to rid themselves of their safety nets and go all in. “Damon called me, or I called him a week later. He said, ‘I’m on my way to Concord to turn in this car,’ ” Marcus, who has a venture capital investing background, recalls. To say he was a little skeptical is an understatement. “ ‘Bro, what do you mean? I know we look like we lit, but ain’t no money hit the account yet.’ He was like, ‘Bro, I just believe.’ ”


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