Lessons From the Evolution Of The Marathon Store

I was trying to write one Nipsey piece but I don’t think one piece is enough. I want to write several because his legacy hit me in several different ways. This post is going to give people some history about the Marathon store in hopes of inspiring more to do something similar.

Per the most recent documentary I watched on the Marathon Store Nipsey and his brothers’ journey really revolved around this piece of property. Nipsey and his brother began their entrepreneurial journey selling tee shirts out of the back of their car. They did so well at this that they opened up a store in the complex named Slauson Tees. This alone was an impressive feat. Unfortunately, the store was raided and the raid resorted to his brother being put in jail for around a year and them losing the store.

After getting out of jail, Nipsey’s brother “Blacc Sam” didn’t have the means to open the store back up so he started selling shirts on the street in front of the same location. After he made enough money to get back into the complex he leased space and opened back up.

The story gets a little grey around here but ultimately they leased multiple units as Nipsey’s career grew and then bought the entire building. We have all heard the story about how Nipsey and his friends were harassed by a burger stand owner and now that burger stand owner pays them rent. That is “true power”. Here are some key takeaways from the Nipsey story that I think everyone should key in on.

  1. Stay loyal: No matter what they did, Nipsey and Blacc Sam stayed on the same corner. This was done strategically so their customers knew where to find them. This allowed them to scale and it ultimately allowed them to capitalize on the opportunity to buy the building when it came around because they knew the owner and had a relationship. Sometimes it take more than money to make a deal happen. The key to being in the right place at the right time is always being in the right place. That is what you get when you stay loyal to one spot.
  2. Start small, think big: One key thing about this to me is that they started with what they had — they didn’t sit around looking at owning the whole block, they started moving and the block ownership came to them. Many of us can do exactly what they did. Selling things on the corner. Many of us don’t want to be seen in this phase though so they clock in and get a job. They key is that it is possible. The question is whether you are willing to do what it takes.
  3. Legal hustles create wealth, illegals ones create poverty: Nipsey mentions hustling a lot but he wasn’t selling drugs. Instead he was selling t shirts and his mixtapes. So many young men want the instant money and that instant money will land you right in jail. Nipsey shows that you can make money legally that is long lasting and it can grow if you just continue to commit to the process. You can’t pass down illegal money, you can’t buy businesses with illegal money, you can’t level up with illegal money. The illegal money will keep you small, will send you to jail or send you to the grave. When those things happen to you, your family loses your earnings capacity and it lands them right into poverty. Like Nipsey says “I’m not gong to make 100 mil in these streets”. Wealth is legitimate and long lasting. You get pennies chasing quick money.
  4. Other ventures feed your main venture: Too often we believe that a business has to stand on its own two feet. That a real estate deal has to stand on its own two feet. This is baloney. One thing we see is that they started on the block with the store and continued to build up other streams. As those other streams built up they were able to purchase the building and then receive income from the building which then allowed other ventures to grow. One venture helps the other.
  5. Don’t announce your moves just make them: This one is a lesson that I have to learn as well. That is that in this real estate and business game its better to execute on your big plans in quiet and secure comfort for your family than it is to get the praise for your plans. People steal plans and people hate on possibilities. We do a lot of this to Hustle and Motivate but Nipsey’s life and death are all the motivation and inspiration we need. Now we need less talk and more moves in silence. We are the only culture that announces our plans before we make them. I have this theory that one of the reasons we struggle is because we don’t have our own language. This prevents us from organizing in quiet. There is true value in planning on the low and then attacking. Everyone shouldn’t know your next move.

I have so much to say but the big takeaway is that these brothers (there is also power in the family working toward ONE goal and not a bunch of separate goals) started in the lot, opened Slauson Tees and then flipped it into owning the building all because they kept going and kept running the marathon. I want to encourage you to get on your own marathon. Link up with family, start with what you have, commit to an area and flip everything back into that area. You will be amazed at what you can build when you put effort into building and not just getting a paycheck.

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