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NEXT LEVEL AUTO | African American News – Black News – Colored News

NEXT LEVEL AUTO | African American News - Black News - Colored News

 

COVER STORY

Subsequent Degree Automotive with Brandon Stewart

 

“I like to encourage people and let them know that anything is possible. I ain’t nobody, I’m just a guy from the hood. But, it’s God who has put me in the position to be in the place with certain types of people. Some people may feel like they don’t know how to do x, y and z. I have never had a business loan or nothing like that… It’s all been about hard work and that’s what people are seeing.” Mr. Brandon Stewart, proprietor of Subsequent Degree Automotive expressed these phrases throughout a current interview with African-American News & Points

From way back to he can keep in mind, he has maintained a singular expertise to look previous a car’s present state and envision it at its full potential. Via self-taught measures, trial and error and taking note of element, Stewart has developed impeccable expertise which have enabled him to emerge as a pacesetter in Houston’s automotive customization business. His distinctive present to revive and rework automobiles, coupled together with his robust religion in God has made room for him within the presence of celebrities, skilled athletes, hip-hop artists and tons of others. He has traveled the nation coast to coast, delivering the newest types and developments within the automotive tradition and is understood all through the area people as a motivational speaker and mentor to space youth.

Brandon Stewart

Stewart is a local Houstonian born and raised within the Hiram Clarke space. His mom, Patricia reared him in a loving, supportive Christian surroundings. Rising up he attended Larger St. Matthew Baptist Church, underneath the management of Dr. Gusta Booker, Jr. There, he was lively within the choir and different features of the church.  Early on, he developed a fascination with “tricked-out”automobiles. He would typically spend time at his grandparent’s house in South Park. Throughout his keep, he remembers excitedly gazing out the window watching the likes of native artists similar to, Fats Pat, Lil Keke and others. As he matured, the pictures of them parading their sweet-painted automobiles and spinning wheels up and down the road, blaring their newest albums remained cemented in his thoughts.

On the age of 15, he skilled his first bout with entrepreneurship whereas nonetheless in highschool. Conscious the varsity bought cookies two for $1, he tactfully engineered an strategy to problem his competitors. After getting ready a batch of cookies, he took them to high school and allowed his friends to pattern them; afterwards, he requested them if they might purchase them and everybody agreed they might. Recognizing his mom as his first investor he stated, “My mom saw what I was doing and asked if I was serious about it; when I told her I was, she went out and purchased all of the ingredients for me.”

A pair days later, Stewart returned to high school with a greater high quality product, which was brisker and cheaper – promoting his cookies three for $1. His enterprise was an on the spot success, and he confirmed gratitude to his mom by giving her the cash she spent and a return on her funding. Earlier than lengthy, he turned generally known as the “Cookie Man” round campus. College students and academics alike have been in fixed demand for his provide, typically coming to his classroom to see if he had extra. Each morning he would rise up an hour and a half early to make sure he might ship his cookies recent each day.

the time he was 16, he had begun working on the movie show whereas nonetheless promoting cookies at college. As soon as he lastly saved sufficient cash to purchase his first automotive, he bought a Honda Accord for $three,500. Later that yr, he purchased a Honda Civic and customised it with 4 TV screens and 17-inch tires and rims. Undoubtedly, his creativity sparked an curiosity in these round him, as a result of ultimately individuals began in search of him and his pals out for recommendation on how you can improve their automobiles. “I feel like this part of my life really stamped my future,”he stated.

Whereas sustaining his enterprise enterprise, collaborating within the band and choir and dealing Stewart remained devoted to his research. In 2000, he graduated within the prime of his class from Madison Excessive Faculty. Thereafter, he and three of his lifelong associates established a car customization store.

Climbing the Ladder to Entrepreneurship

Previous to formally implementing the store, the crew had already constructed a robust popularity for themselves in and across the metropolis. They have been a vibrant group of younger expert Black entrepreneurs who all shared a standard love for customized automobiles. Their distinctive “713” branded shirts and chains and over-the-prime customer support methods stored them unequalled amongst rivals. Frequenting different cities and adapting the newest tendencies throughout the nation into their builds additionally offered them with a further edge over the competitors. Collectively they helped introduce a number of the nation’s freshest and most revolutionary designs into Houston’s automotive business.

The workforce successfully operated for years earlier than mutually deciding to half methods. Although every member went their means, they nonetheless stay shut pals to today. Stewart expressed, “What we built together can never be taken away from us because the stamp is there. We learned a lot from each other and fed off of each other’s energy. Collectively we were unstoppable. I was hurt when we parted ways because we were friends and all of us came up together. We were poor together so, when you poor and come up with somebody it’s a different type of come up, versus when you already have money and get with someone – then it’s straight business. So, because we struggled together, I feel like our story was different. But, I couldn’t dwell on it because it was swim or sink time.”

The Daybreak of New Period: Subsequent Degree Automotive

Though Stewart was enthralled within the firm, he by no means uncared for furthering his schooling. Upon completion of highschool, he enrolled at Prairie View A & M College for a brief interval. He then matriculated on the College of Houston-Downtown, the place he earned a level in Enterprise. After the dissolution of his former partnership, he knew it was of necessity that he reinvented himself. He had already begun laying the groundwork to incept his personal enterprise and began networking across the nation with people within the area.

Coincidentally, he met a person named Dave via a mutual acquaintance, who was in California for the BET Awards weekend on the similar time he was. As luck would have it, his newly-developed affiliate was nicely-related round Cali.
Therefore, the pair went to a celebration on the house of Academy Award winner, Jamie Foxx. Whereas there, Stewart interacted with a number of celebrities like: Marcus Houston, Omarion, Jamie Foxx himself and scores of different superstar personalities. Not lengthy afterwards, Dave prompt to Stewart that he deliver his expertise and expertise to the West Coast. With that encouragement, Stewart took a leap of religion, stepped outdoors of his aspect and established Subsequent Degree Automotive (NLA) in 2015 in Lengthy Seashore, California.

Upon returning house, he started on the lookout for areas to pioneer a location in Houston. Initially, he was hesitant to reintroduce himself as a result of he was recognized from his prior position and was not sure of how he can be accepted. Nevertheless, that worry was subsided when he acquired a name from a former buyer who desired to get some work achieved. By this time, Stewart had formally opened the doorways to Subsequent Degree Automotive in Houston. After informing his buyer that he had his personal store; his buyer responded, “I don’t care where you are, as long as you can do the same job you did before.”  That straightforward inference served as a mountain of motivation for him and virtually instantly his confidence degree was boosted. Up till that second, he had been quietly working in his store and wasn’t selling the corporate an excessive amount of.

He defined, “This was one of the reasons I wanted to jumpstart Next Level in California because I wouldn’t have to have the conversation about why we were no longer together. I wasn’t prepared for the questions… But, I realized I couldn’t be afraid, I had to embrace it. I said to myself, ‘If I’m going to be successful, I have to push it all the way.’ Once I let it all go and dropped my fears, people starting congratulating me and letting me know they had been ready for me to venture out on my own. I couldn’t see past leaving my friends because it was a relationship. Honestly, I never saw myself in this position, because I was always more comfortable working behind the scenes.”

Stewart shared as soon as he alleviated all of his inner reservations it was as if the flood gates opened for NLA. “I was amazed because the struggles I dealt with internally, outside people didn’t care about any of that. The way we view ourselves is internal and when people see us they don’t have any idea. Even though it feels like people can look through you and see the hurt, pain and struggles – they can’t, because they are dealing with their own issues. But, it took me a while to come to that conclusion.”

Providers of Subsequent Degree Automotive

NLA has develop into residence to one of the elite car customization outlets within the metropolis. As a enterprise proprietor, Stewart has constructed an in depth base of excessive-profile clientele. But, he retains his doorways open to accommodate clients from all walks of life and financial statuses and backgrounds. He says, “I treat everybody the same because that’s the way people should be treated. Overall, I am just thankful for having the opportunity to work with so many people.” Whenasked to recall certainly one of his most memorable experiences from a buyer, he revealed the next.

“Once, we delivered a car to a Charger’s player right after his game. He was excited and said the whole time during the game, all he could think about was his car. So it makes me feel good to know, we have that type of impact on people. Sometimes people will forget that celebrities are human.” He continued, “But, we are inclusive with everyone and I appreciate regular customers.”This issue is clear from visiting the corporate’s Fb profile web page, which shows all forms of custom-made automobiles; from battery-operated jeeps to prime of the road Mercedes Benz’s

NLA supplies automotive delivery, insurance coverage claims and loaner automobiles. Moreover, the premier store additionally focuses on customized physique work, rims and tires, audio/video design and far more. It’s situated at 7315 Ashcroft, Suite 110, 77081. For extra info or particulars relating to providers contact (281) 888-3423; e mail NextLevelAutomotiveLLC@gmail.comor go to them on Fb @ Subsequent Degree Automotive.

Challenges as an Entrepreneur

Stewart has all the time prided himself on paying attention and anxious with the wants of every particular person buyer. Although he has seen a lot success in his strategy, he admitted attaining this degree of buyer satisfaction may be difficult at occasions. “One of my biggest challenges is making everybody feel like they are the only customer; sometimes it can become a burden when everybody is trying to get that attention at the same time. Also, making sure we stay focused on our own path is vital; because, no matter what you are doing if you look at somebody else journey you will think you are losing. So, we have to remember never try to run somebody else’s race because you will lose, it’s not your race to win – you can only win your race.”

The Significance of Giving Again

When requested about recommendation to the African-American group, Stewart confused emphasis on the necessity to help each other. “If we don’t support each other, there’s not going to be a foundation for those coming behind us to build on,”he stated. To that regard he has taken a stance to steer by instance, by way of his implementation of the “Father & SonConversation”a frequent gathering which takes place at his store. On this effort, Subsequent Degree discusses actual-life conditions and purposes with youth from the group. In understanding the necessity to hold them engaged, Subsequent Degree additionally offers numerous actions for the youth, like bowling

“We want to build a relationship with them. In the children minds’ there is a disconnect between us and them. So, I feel we need to get down on their playing field in order to relate to them. We want to be able to understand what’s going on out there, because if we don’t know, then we won’t be able to come up with a solution. They are our future and the ones who will be taking care of us, so, we need to at least build a foundation with them.”

“I also feel that it is equally important that our youth see positive role models within the community that look like them. When I was growing up, success was presented to us in the form of suits and ties. However, I have learned it’s not always about your attire. Over the years, things have changed and I like to show the youth it’s not about what you wear; your heart and work ethic is what’s most important. If you work hard, have faith and are willing to learn you can achieve success.”

Persevering with, Stewart doesn’t simply restrict his group outreach and activism to the youth. Through the vacation season, they feed the homeless, give out garments and different requirements. Final yr, when Hurricane Harvey struck Subsequent Degree didn’t waste time lending a hand to these affected. They opened their doorways to deal with clothes, furnishings, home items, meals, water different and important wants and hand-delivered the gadgets to victims of Harvey.

Inspirations and Motivations

At present, Stewart stays grateful for his Christian upbringing and membership at Higher St. Matthew B.C. and says he has been capable of incorporate most of the virtues he has discovered into working his personal enterprise. He shared, “Church has helped me with patience and guidance. I always like to make my belief known and let people know God is responsible for who I am. I feel that’s important, otherwise people will think I did everything on my own; and the second you do that, it can get snatched away. Church has been my underlying foundation – those people taught and helped mold me.”

He additionally revealed that his grandfather, Leroy Stewart was instrumental in his life. “My grandfather was a hardworking man across the board and I always wanted to be like him. He worked over 40-years at one job and even though he wasn’t into cars; I try to model myself after his work ethic. He was always laid back and never really talked too loud. That is a trait I have taken from him, always aiming to be the calm person in a conversation and it has really paid off.”Earlier than concluding our interview, Stewart was adamant about acknowledging his associate, Mike who was additionally a co-proprietor at their earlier enterprise. “Mike has been my road dog since sixth grade, Even today, he keeps me in check and does sales and performs other duties here.”