Gunn moves his business to downtown Dover

La Mar Gunn stands on the front porch of his new office building at 11 N. State St, in Dover.

La Mar Gunn shares a light moment with Executive Assistant Donyale Hall in the front lobby of Gunn Wealth Management. (Delaware State News/Craig Anderson)

DOVER — La Mar Gunn is right where he wants to be.

With his business now situated at the intersection of State and Division streets near downtown, the financial planner and social activist has a vested interest in his community’s future.

Last month, he moved his Gunn Wealth Management business to the Victorian-style Howe House after 12 years of working from his home office in Dover.

For some time, the NAACP Central Delaware president felt somewhat like an outsider when weighing in on issues that vex Delaware’s capital city.

“It was on my mind around the clock that this is what I needed to do,” he said. “I didn’t want to just keep showing up at things and then leaving.

“That’s one thing, but when people see you with a permanent place in the community there’s more of a belief in the commitment to making things better.

“I wanted to make an investment in the city and show people that we’re going to be bridge builders.”

Regarding future generations, Mr. Gunn “wanted kids to see that there’s more to see than what’s on their corner.”

For $500,000 Mr. Gunn, 43, bought the 4,286-square-foot building at 11 N. State St. that was formerly home to Prickett, Jones & Elliott law firm. He plans to invest at least another $25,000 in mostly cosmetic renovations. He has enlisted House of Pride residents for the cleanup and painting labor along with local contractors for plumbing and wiring services.

“The chance to work and earn something for themselves means a lot to those House of Pride members,” he said.

La Mar Gunn stands near the edge of his recently purchased property at 11 N. State St. in Dover. (Delaware State News/Craig Anderson)

La Mar Gunn stands near the edge of his recently purchased property at 11 N. State St. in Dover. (Delaware State News/Craig Anderson)

The move was in the works for more than a year, but Mr. Gunn believed the initial asking price was too high. The building was still for sale at the beginning of 2016, and a negotiation began.

On Feb. 24, Mr. Gunn and his four-member staff moved into their three-story business home that also includes a basement. The public is invited to a ribbon cutting at 5 p.m. April 4, and local pastors will attend to pray over the site.

According to Mr. Gunn, his building has been registered with the Recorder of Deeds since 1900, and the Historical Register since 1870.

“It’s a long-standing tradition that pastors give their blessing to something like this,” Mr. Gunn said.

The date is symbolic because it’s the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in 1968.

“We’re doing it on that day because we want to show that there are people living the dream and still carrying on the legacy,” Mr. Gunn said.

Mr. Gunn, a William Penn High and University of Delaware product who was the first in his family to graduate from college, said he’s committed to introducing local kids to the basics of investing and goal setting that “if followed they can be successful. I want to see kids from the community break the general curse of,” struggling with finances, he said.

There’s currently an ongoing program with the Caesar Rodney School District he said, and Capital School District products are central to Dover’s future as well.

The new Gunn Wealth Management building has eight rooms for offices or classrooms, and a conference room that can be made available for nonprofit community meetings, Mr. Gunn said.

There’s space open for startup businesses at low or no rate for an initial six months at least in what Mr. Gunn described as an incubator for businesses without the resources to settle in a permanent location.

Executive assistant Donyale Hall owns several small businesses herself and understands the challenges of establishing a viable enterprise.

Ms. Hall believes there’s a synergy existing between her and Mr. Gunn that can accomplish great things for themselves and others in the coming years.

While the duo shares many skill sets, they both have their own strengths to contribute to the overall product, she said. She noted that she’s a member of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority designed to help those in need and Mr. Gunn belongs to the similarly focused Omega Psi Phi fraternity.

“It’s a blank canvas and the story is going to be painted by us,” she said.

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La Mar Gunn stands near the edge of his recently purchased property at 11 N. State St. in Dover.

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