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From Wall Street to Washing Machines: A JCSU Grad’s Journey to Business Ownership

Marc Fuller ’04

CHARLOTTE, N.C. / July 14, 2022 – Marc Fuller ’04 left Johnson C. Smith University with a finance and banking degree and set his sights on Wall Street. 

After spending time as an analyst, Fuller realized that office politics and long hours behind a desk weren’t going to work for him, so he decided to become a real estate agent in New Jersey. 

“The closest thing I could get to entrepreneurship was commercial real estate, and I did well in it,” said Fuller. “But I always knew I wanted to move back to Charlotte.” 

While working in real estate, Fuller’s clients owned apartment buildings that had storefronts on the bottom floor, and many of them had their own laundromats. 

He would sit with his clients and learn how they run their businesses. When the time came, Fuller took a leap of faith that would land him in Charlotte’s history book as the first-ever 24-hour laundromat. 

“Before I moved back to Charlotte, I bought a laundromat and rented an apartment, sight unseen,” he said. 

As Fuller opened his business, he decided to offer a last wash at 8 p.m., but noticed that people were still coming in to use the machines after closing hours. 

He took another gamble and left for the night, leaving the doors open to anyone who might need a late-night wash. 

“The next day, it was a mess. But I checked my cameras and it was busy overnight,” he said. “People would just be getting off of work or going into work and needed to wash their clothes. I saw a big need for it and opened as a 24-hour laundromat after that.” 

Fuller owned three laundromats, including 24 Hour Laundry on Central Ave., before the COVID-19 pandemic. In Feb. 2020, he sold two of them and purchased a car wash. 

He credits his years at Johnson C. Smith University for igniting an entrepreneurial spirit in him. 

“You will never experience the amount of ambitious energy that you do at an HBCU like Johnson C. Smith University,” he said. “That energy carried me through. Everyone was set out to do something great.” 

Fuller knew he wanted to attend an HBCU. He grew up in Baltimore and would attend homecoming events and football games at his father’s alma mater, Morgan State University. His mother attended North Carolina Central University. 

While he knew he wanted to follow in his parents’ footsteps, he wanted to attend a smaller university, which led him to JCSU. 

Before college, Fuller was writing up business plans and sparking new ideas. Now, he says he enjoys that he is his own boss, makes his own hours and can give back to his community. 

“Being your own boss is one of the ultimate forms of freedom,” he said. “Entrepreneurship can solve a lot of problems in the Black community. Owning a business is rewarding because I can give back to my community and employ people.” 

Fuller has said he’s been overwhelmed by the support of his customers. One customer, after learning that 24 Hour Laundry was a Black-owned business, asked for flyers to hand out to her coworkers. 

After that, Fuller noticed an uptick in customers. 

“Black people enjoy patronizing Black businesses that add value to their communities,” he said. 

Not only does 24 Hour Laundry give value to the community by offering a clean place to wash and dry clothes, but it also gives back to local children and families. 

Fuller often hosts free wash days, pizza parties and back-to-school supply giveaways. He encourages students, especially JCSU students, to start early on their journey to entrepreneurship. 

“Start an LLC and build credit in that LLC,” he said. “Get a line of credit or credit card so, when its time for you to start or launch your business, you won’t have a problem getting capital. And keep your credit clean at all costs!” 

Fuller is proof that no one should believe their dreams are washed away or dried up. He is an excellent example of the men and women Johnson C. Smith University strives to graduate: a leader, entrepreneur and innovator with a heart for his community.

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