Area women give big push to small businesses

CAMDEN — La’Reka Marshall and Lillian Harrison describe their business relationship as a happy marriage.

“It’s perfect synergy,” Ms. Harrison said.

La’Reka Marshall, left, and Lillian Harrison have combined their two businesses to form Harrison-Marshall, which incorporates both of their services with the intent of giving back to the community with business advice and assistance. (Delaware State News photo by Arshon Howard)

La’Reka Marshall, left, and Lillian Harrison have combined their two businesses to form Harrison-Marshall, which incorporates both of their services with the intent of giving back to the community with business advice and assistance. (Delaware State News photo by Arshon Howard)

Ms. Marshall, of Dover, owns a catering and cleaning company while Ms. Harrison, of Millsboro, runs a business development company, which helps people start their own firms and nonprofit organizations.

The women recently teamed up and combined their two businesses to form Harrison-Marshall, which incorporates both of their services with the intent of giving back to the community.

The business is set up at a temporary office in Olsen Realty in Camden.

“We talked about it for over a year about doing something together,” Ms. Harrison said.

“We met through a friend and we just combined our businesses for a comprehensive service. We just talked over the phone and just made it happen.”

“We already had established business, so we just decided to join forces to expand on what we have.”

But both women said their companies are a platform to help people in the community.

“We’ve both experienced homelessness and we’ve both been in domestic violence situations,” Ms. Harrison said.

“I think that’s why we want to give back because we’ve been there. You can’t tell us that you’ve been homeless and we not understand what that means.”

Ms. Marshall agreed.

“We are two people that have experienced a lot of events in our lives and have similarities, as we can relate to a lot of different situations.” We really believe in helping and giving back any chance that we get.”

In 2013, Ms. Marshall started Soulful Gospel, leaning heavily on Carolyn Holloway as a volunteer.

Through Soulful Gospel, Ms. Marshall goes into local homeless shelters and, with the help of Ms. Holloway and other volunteers, provides a meal, entertainment and motivation to those living in the shelter.

Ms. Marshall said Ms. Harrison helps with the administrative side.

“Any flyers, or anything dealing with marketing, she helps with,” Ms. Marshall said. “I need her to kick start things for me. If I need a proposal for a contract, I contact her.”

Ms. Marshall helps Ms. Harrison with event planning.

“She’s great at that,” Ms. Harrison said.

“That allows me to add that service to my business with her by my side. We need each other in different ways.”

Funds for community events that the women host come out of their own pockets, but they hope to see that change soon.

“Hopefully when things start picking up we will be able to do even more for the community,” Ms. Harrison said.

“La’Kesha helps people find apartments, but what if we can pay their first month rent or security deposit? That’s what we’re aiming for.”
Ms. Marshall agreed.

“We really love and appreciate the community services that we have to offer and I would like the community to know the heart behind us,” she said.

“I lived at (Dover family shelter) Shepherd Place and I give back any chance that I get. We just want people to know that we’ve experienced hardships and are willing to give people going through those same problems a helping hand.”

For more information, call 302-381-7053.

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