BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT By Jannise Bush – Neighborhood Communications 2
Mr. Anthony Williams was born and raised in Peoria. His story is a simple one of deciding what he wanted and steadily working toward that goal. He didn’t finish high school, but went on to get his GED. Working odd jobs to support himself, he saved to start his own successful business.
In 2003, Mr. Williams started Cellular Enterprises on North Adams Street in Peoria with Nextel. He sold pager and cellphone services until 2005. His interest grew from his association with others in that industry. “At the time, I was working at the Civic Center. The cellular industry seemed to be a viable industry. I wrote up a business plan, introduced the plan to Nextel, and they loved it. We did some editing and submitted the plan to the corporate office. I began by selling services until I was able to build enough capital to buy inventory,” he stated. Later, Sprint bought Nextel out, and he eventually signed on with Sprint.
In 2006, Mr. Williams re-opened as Neighborhood Communications Inc. (NCI) in the incubator at The Galleria at City of Refuge Worship Center. During this time, he began a new venture adding US Cellular and Boost Mobile (the first to bring the brand to Peoria), including additional services, such as bill pay and home phone services.
In 2009, he relocated to Garden Street, and in 2015, he changed the name to Neighborhood Communications 2. Then he moved again in 2017 to his current location at 733 S. Western Avenue, which he is renovating.
Mr. Williams attributes his success to mentoring and community resources. “I participated in classes and programs in the City of Peoria. I went through the ADME Program (Advancing the Development of Minority Entrepreneurship) sponsored by Illinois Governor Rauner. Ross Miller, from Bradley University, was the trainer. The Urban League has been a great resource for employee referrals. Dr. Rita Ali, Denise Moore (BBA Peoria), Larry Ivory, and others have all been influential in my success as a business owner.”
After more than ten years in business, Neighborhood Communications 2 offers an extensive line of services, including Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Lycamobile. He also offers HughesNet, a direct satellite internet service, internet protection, PC cleaning, firewall and malware protection, technical support, and on site equipment services for computers and laptops.
Based on his experience, Mr. Williams offers this advice for starting a business. “Stay consistent. Love what you do. Determine the best business structure for your business; e.g., sole proprietor, S-corporation, LLC. Understanding debits and credits as a business owner is more critical than opening the business itself. Going to the right people to learn what you need to do. Today, there’s the Turner Center, the BBA Peoria, and the Peoria Black Chamber of Commerce. I’ve been a member.”
The next time you shop for cell phone equipment/service, internet, or you want to pay a bill, stop by Neighborhood Communications 2 or call (309) 494-9390. They have unlimited plans ranging from $19 to $50/month–talk, texting, and data. Hours of operation are Monday – Friday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Closed on Sundays.