Where there’s a will, there’s a way!
View this post on Instagram
Family Of Entrepreneurs
In an interview with AfroTech, Temple gives flowers to his late father, who was a serial entrepreneur with a restaurant and pest control company. Temple was also on construction sites with his father, Anthony Temple Sr., who maintained a position as a contractor.
Today, his father’s imprint has laid the groundwork for Temple to create wealth for generations to come.
“He was my hero,” Temple said. “My father, he didn’t know how to read or write. The thing that he taught me when I was growing up is he taught me how to build. He told me, ‘Son, if you never learn how to read or write, learn how to read a tape measure. If you learn how to read a tape measure, that’ll carry you on where you’re able to make money.’ So, I always was skillful from a young age.”
By age 10, Temple started a snowball cart business with his brother Prince, who managed to buy a vehicle from the earnings. For Temple, he succumbed to his environment, which ultimately led to him serving time behind bars when he was 18.
“I began to go towards the streets. Even though I had my father’s guidance,” Temple reflected. “I still began to get in trouble selling drugs because I wanted more than what I saw within the community, far as the Black community and people that I had seen day to day that was struggling. So, I chose that life. But once I ended up getting in trouble, facing 21 to 45 years in jail at 18 years old, selling drugs, I felt the disappointment in my father’s eyes, my family.”
He continued, “I knew that I needed to change my life drastically. I did not want to end up dead on the south side of Chicago or in a penitentiary. I had my brother looking at me, my younger brother looking at me as an example, as a role model, and other people too as well. So, I began to educate myself and decided I really have to advance my life.”
Temple stayed true to his promise, returning to school then later pursuing higher education to study computer engineering at ITT Technical Institute. However, he ultimately chose a career path as a contractor due to his earnings, which he claims were six figures annually.
“For computer programmers, entry-level pay had dropped from $100,000 to $60,000 at that time. So, I stuck with contracting ’cause I was already doing six figures,” he explained.
With his earnings, Temple opened his first store, Tony’s Hardware Tool Rental, in his early 20s. He later started his own construction company. Temple was reaching success, even investing in properties such as apartment buildings.
However, with his father’s death at age 53, due to a battle with cancer, Temple reached a standstill. But he eventually started seeking a new start.
“Once I lost my father in 2009, from colon cancer, that ambition and that motivation, it just wasn’t there anymore,” Temple told AfroTech.
Temple’s fresh start wouldn’t come until 2014. He moved forward with the liquidation of his company and moved to the West Coast with his second wife.
“We came here, we just started completely over,” Temple mentioned. “We didn’t have a car. We didn’t have a place to stay or anything. When I came to California, I didn’t have a lot of money. I didn’t even have a good $10,000. I had enough money to buy a vehicle and get a plane ticket, be able to go and get me some more tools. I was living off of all the liquidated funds. I was paying debt back that I owed, trying to leverage my life back out because still at this time I was young, I was still learning business. I had made so many different mistakes in business at this time too as well. I felt that I needed to move somewhere where it was foreign to me, where I didn’t have the resources, to develop the new resources to even discipline myself more in saving money and investing money even more.”
Temple’s focus was on rebuilding a new life in California. He first worked jobs on Craiglist and later opened an e-commerce store on Amazon, which he claims was a lucrative venture.
“Amazon is really what changed my life,” Temple said. “I still tell people to this day, make e-commerce the foundation of your business even before you do a brick-and-mortar, because then you’re not looking for that capital that you need to keep your business going.”
His revenue from e-commerce supported the opening of Temple Custom Jewelers in Las Vegas, NV, before moving the store to San Diego in October 2021. This was the start of Temple planting the seeds for generational wealth.
View this post on Instagram
“With Temple Custom Jewelers, my brother, he’s a borrower, and I named everything ‘Temple’ after my last name for family legacy to give my family something to be proud of, so any family member will be able to walk in, get training, get the understanding of how to run and operate business,” Temple detailed.
“And my brother being a barber, I said, ‘We’re gonna open up another barber shop, and this one’s going to be Temple Barber Lounge,'” he added.
Today in Mission Valley Mall, visitors can find three of Temple’s businesses: Temple Barber Lounge, Temple Custom Jewelers, and Blu Temple Cigar and Wine Company. The shops were all built within one year and are still thriving today, the entrepreneur says.
View this post on Instagram
“I want to be used as a vessel to show my people this can be done,” Temple expressed. “I’m a kid that come from the south side of Chicago, couldn’t read, write, getting in trouble, going to jail, getting locked up. We can do this. Odds were against me. So many people counting me out. I counted myself out. I didn’t think I was going to live to be past 22 years old because that’s just how the violence was. My reality was living in Chicago. So, I want to be used as a vessel to enter into these industries that I don’t typically see African Americans in.”