For the Georgia State University alums, making history was not in their plan. The friends had reportedly worked toward their dreams of owning a hotel property for several years. Reaves worked her way up through the industry starting as a front desk agent for the Hyatt Regency Atlanta before moving to Boston to take on a corporate role as an associate with CHMWarnick’s Hospitality.
“I would often see other hotel owners, but they didn’t look like me. So, that’s when I started on a 14-year mission to make a change,” Reaves told Black Enterprise.
In forming Epiq Collective, an Atlanta-based commercial real estate investment firm, Myers and Reaves have acquired more than $14 million in commercial real estate assets. Their company’s primary goal is a collective approach to help people invest in real estate projects that may have seemed impossible for the average, small business owner.
Myers and Reaves worked toward reaching the deal prior to Feb. 6, which is a significant date for both of the women.
“I told our team of investors that I wanted to own this hotel by Feb. 6. That’s my grandmother’s birthday, and coincidentally it’s Jessica’s birthday, too. Knowing that I’ve done that just gives me chills!” Reaves said. “We’re so proud to bring that ‘Black girl magic’ to the commercial real estate industry; this is just the beginning!”
In a video posted on LinkedIn, an investor in their hotel, Acquania Escarne, talked about how life-changing the acquisition is for her and her family. Escarne said she originally thought owning a hotel was out of reach.
“That’s like playing Monopoly in real life,” she said about pursuing the hotel ownership. “Who buys hotels? The more I got to know them and understand the process, I realized hotel ownership is attainable and it’s attainable for anyone willing to save their money and invest.”
Myers and Reaves say they hope the deal continues to broaden the representation and ownership by Black women in the hotel industry. Myers said their story can be duplicated and offered some advice to those with similar aspirations.
“Stay in committed action no matter what it looks like. Don’t allow your current circumstance to dictate the altitude of your success,” Myers told Black Enterprise. “If your dreams aren’t scaring you, then they’re not big enough.”