Meet a proud South sider in Fort Wayne improving his neighborhood through his business

Isaac Fincher, 29, and his siblings are proud products the city’s South side. They went to Prince Chapman Academy, then to South Side High School.

“We grew up in the church,” Fincher says, noting that his father, Isaac R. Fincher, was and still is a pastor, now at the Eleventh Missionary Baptist Church in the 46806 zip code of Southeast Fort Wayne. 

“He always instilled in us certain values, like integrity,” Fincher says of his father.

Growing up, he remembers volunteering with his church by picking up litter around the neighborhood. It was acts of service like these and his father’s teachings that initially inspired Fincher to become an entrepreneur.

“In entrepreneurship, you don’t know the outcome,” he says. “You got to have a faith-based mentality. Having that mentality keeps me thriving and striving and improving my business.”

In late-2019, Fincher founded Clean Lot Solutions LLC, a business offering litter pick-up, line striping, and commercial landscaping services based on the South side of town.

Along with putting his father’s teachings into practice, Fincher’s business provides a tangible way for him to give back to the people and neighborhoods where he grew up and improve them for future generations.

“Being from the South side of Fort Wayne, it was important to take care of this side of town,” he says. “Since I was born and raised here, I’ve seen different businesses come and go. I feel that it’s important to keep this side of town maintained and cleaned, so it can flourish.”

Fincher’s business provides a tangible way for him to give back to the people and neighborhoods where he grew up and improve them for future generations.

As his business expands, Fincher is accepting clients across the city, but how he started and grew Cleaning Lot Solutions is rooted in the South side community, too.

When he was tired of traveling all the time for his previous job, he knew he wanted to start his own business; he just didn’t know what it would be. While he was telling the owner of the Sankofa Village Center, at the corner of McKinnie Ave. and South Anthony Blvd., about his idea for a litter pickup service, they hired him for the job.

Fincher started off doing litter pickup there Monday through Saturday. The owner allowed him to try his hand at line striping parking lots and landscaping there, as well. These skills added to Fincher’s portfolio and inspired him to take “a more professional approach” to his work.

Fincher

After landing a year-long contract with the Sankofa Village Center, Fincher applied to SEED Fort Wayne’s Build Institute Program on the South side, a nine-week basic business education course for early-stage business builders, primarily those who are women or People of Color.

Fincher says being involved with the program’s cohort-style community of support, connections, and knowledge gave him the motivation and information he needed to make his business a sustainable career. Now, he has multiple clients and plans for expansion.

Isaac Fincher of Clean Lot Solutions offers line striping for businesses and organizations.

He also belongs to a growing legacy of business owners from Fort Wayne Build, as the 100th minority business owner to graduate from the program since its first class in June 2019, says Director of SEED Fort Wayne Trois Hart. As a result, SEED is awarding him a grant valued in excess of $15,000 for marketing and social media support.

“There are so many people without a history of entrepreneurship in their family who have wanted to start businesses, but before Build Institute Fort Wayne, they did not know where to start,” Hart says. “Part of the reason we launched our Build program was for this very reason: We want to encourage these individuals, especially women and People of Color, to make their business ideas a reality in Fort Wayne.”

Clean Lot Solutions LLC is a business offering litter pick-up, line striping, and commercial landscaping services based on the South side of town.

As Fincher’s business grows, he hopes to retain eight daily clients for litter pick-up, while adding asphalt repair and snow removal services to his repertoire, which would set the stage for a larger customer base and hiring a fleet of workers. He feels a sense of pride and pressure in being Build’s 100th minority business owner to graduate, creating a legacy of more businesses owned by People of Color in the city.

“Being recognized with doing work on my side of town, it’s motivation for me,” he says, “But it’s also positive pressure. It helps me wanting to keep improving for the graduates before and after me.”

In more ways than one, Fincher wants to create the kind of environment on the South side for businesses and community to thrive.

“The South side is already doing well, but it can be better,” he says. “I want to play a part in making it better.”

SEED Fort Wayne reviewed this article before it was published.

Read more articles by William Bryant Rozier.

William Bryant Rozier is the managing editor of Fort Wayne Ink Spot newspaperThrough his own fortuitous set of circumstances, he now writes, takes photographs, designs stuff, and makes short video projects for a living. He’s written for Frost Illustrated Newspaper, Indian Country Today, and Ebony.com. He’s photographed for USA Today, Getty Images, and Black Enterprise Magazine.
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