Today we’d like to introduce you to Cleon T Day III.
Cleon T, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
During March, Georgia legislature session, law makers passed House Bill 757 (known as the religious liberty bill) for Georgia’s Governor to sign into law. It would allow businesses to deny service to LGBT people based on religious faith.
Shortly afterward, a coalition of more than 400 local and national businesses spoke out strongly against HB 757. In arguing for the bill’s defeat, the businesses stated, “For Georgia businesses to compete for top talent, we must have workplaces and communities that are diverse and welcoming for all people, no matter one’s race, sex, color, national origin, ethnicity, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity.”
In addition to those businesses, nearly 40 leaders from the film industry, directors, producers, actors, and others signed a petition urging Georgia Governor Nathan Deal to veto the bill. A few ongoing movie and television productions threaten to pull out of Georgia as well as film directors looking to film in Georgia stated they would look other locations.
Following my self-published Grand Prize, Looking for a Winner a Dating/Relationship Guide for Gay Men of Color) in 2008, I had a vision of creating a safe space for the LGBT community to meet & greet. Georgia had begun building an art and entertainment network to attract the television and movie industry (which generated 9.5 billion dollars in 2017), In 2016, I saw an opportunity to merge the two and began laying out the blueprint.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
First, I had to put the idea on paper and then create an action plan for it. There were two things that were a must. I needed a website for all intents and purposes, to get the idea out there. Also, I needed a business plan, a must for any business. In beginning a business, you need to map out a plan for where you want the company to go, how you will get there, and measure your progress along the way.
An important asset to the business plan is having a contingency plan. You need to know how to dissolve the business or if possible have a resolution(s) in the event financially, things are not going well for the business.
Developing the business plan is challenging, however, there are several resources available to support you, you just need to do the work. At this point, we continue working the business plan. It is a small business and an ambitious one, so every ‘t’ needs to be crossed and ‘I’s dotted.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
I am CEO of Grand Prize Singles Experience LLC. Our organization would be categorized as an “Arts & Entertainment” business, leasing spaces to the television, movie and music video industry. In the same space, we experience to provide a safe-space for LGBT to meet & greet, dine, and get married if that’s somewhere in the future.
Currently, we are working on plans to build the company’s infrastructure. When built, the facility will house a full-service restaurant, indoor/outdoor pool area, a 1000 seat theater, two ballrooms (one that can be converted into a pool & deck and the other one into a wedding chapel), a “multi-lounge”, and an atrium featuring a bakery, a florist, a wedding boutique and a coffee shop.
Our concept is, we are a one-stop shop for film makers to film more than one scene in a single location rather than having to run all over town, saving them time and money! For the LGBT community, we have created Approachable, a dating app like no other dating app which people can read up on at http://www.thegpsexperience.com/approachable-app.html
I am most proud of the complex marrying of the film industry which has a healthy LGBT community/allies and a safe space for the LGBT community designed with them in mind!
What were you like growing up?
I was born and raised in Cleveland Ohio in the 50’s in a two-parent home my father, his father (a private contractor) and brother built. We lived in what was then an integrated middle-class neighbor. I had two siblings, one was one-year older and the other one was one year younger. I was the middle child, being born a year apart were what they call “stairsteps”.
In growing up, I had a few childhood friends, but it was my choice. Although I enjoyed playing with other kids, I was a loner. In having Asthma as a child, I couldn’t go out and play street games many times, being, it would require a lot of high energy. I mostly stayed in the house and listen to conversations my parents had with their friends until my mother forced me to go outside and play.
My hobbies were putting together puzzles, and gluing model cars, airplanes, ships, even the Star Trek ship, the “USS Enterprise”. I collected fireflies, bubble bees in a jar with holes punched out at the top to breath and then let them go., Also, I comic books and put on karaoke shows with my brothers for the neighbor kids and our parent’s friends.
My brothers and I ice-skated in the winter and went to summer camp in the summer where I learned to swim. My brothers and me made go-carts and raced with our neighborhood friends and rode bikes, always having to be in the house when the streetlights came on.
I was a quiet, shy child who was very sensitive and cried at the drop of a hat if anything was wrong. When I was in the sixth grade I ran and became class president. In high school, I took an interest in journalism and became co-editor of our newspaper and yearbook. Outside of school, I became president of Junior Achievement (a non-profit organization that works with local businesses and students k – 12l in providing work readiness and entrepreneurial skills.).
In college, I was the editor of the college newspaper and created a new position in Student Government, so I could run student events. I graduated in 1977 and went on to work for the phone company and retired in 2006.
- Address: Company Office address:
Grand Prize Singles Experience, LLC
400 Colony Square, Suite 300
Atlanta, GA 30361
- Website: www.thegpsexperience.com
- Phone: 404- 870-9051
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/gpsexperience