In 2014, when John Walker was laid off during a local manufacturer’s downsizing, he had a decision: look for another position or go full-time into the side hustle he had been working on for 10 years: property maintenance.
Walker decided to become his own boss, and turn Kingdom Services Unlimited into a full-service maintenance company, operated out of the Community Loan Fund incubator.
That fateful decision changed not just Walker’s life, but the lives of dozens of young men that he’s employed and mentored along the way. Over the last five years, Kingdom Services Unlimited has grown from a sole proprietorship managing one property to a company that employs 12 and manages 600 properties!
John had a vision of what he wanted and the role he wanted to play in the community. As a graduate of the Community Loan Fund’s Business Planning Class and an incubator business at 255 Orange Street, he had the knowledge and backing he needed.
Kingdom Services’s main line of business is property management: snow removal, lawn mowing, property cleanouts-inside and out, building board-ups and other services.
But Kingdom Services is so much more.
John employs 6-8 guys from Arbor Hill and West Hill. While he teaches them the day-to-day tasks of his business, he also teaches them the life skills necessary to be successful: how to be courteous and respectful, how to represent themselves, how to open a bank account and take care of their finances, and how to drive a car and get their license.
“They’re my employees but they’re more than that,” Walker says. “They’re like my kids. I want them to grow as humans. I invest in them.” Walker’s company has grown rapidly and his employees have been with him every step of the way. Today, he and his team manage properties for the Albany County Land Bank, South End Improvement Corporation, and Habitat for Humanity.
In 2017, he purchased a dumpster so that he could do more cleanouts and expand that part of his business. “The staff of the Community Loan Fund helped me think through the feasibility of expanding the business. Because of that assistance, I was able to purchase 5 16-yard dumpsters, creating a new arm of the business,” he says. The Loan Fund has been a huge help every step of the way.”