In 1983, Tyrone Burroughs was recruited by a group of investors from Meridian, MS, to save their Memphis company that was on the verge of a financial crisis and bankruptcy. While he was able to keep the business afloat, the business did eventually close. When the business closed, Tyrone took all the lessons learned and his personal savings of $5,000 and started First Choice Sales and Marketing Group, Inc. in the niche market of products focused on African American consumers. First Choice currently services manufacturers and retailers domestically and internationally; including, Walmart, Dollar General, Family Dollar, Sally Beauty, Kroger, Walgreens, and Target. The company grew its employee count across the entire portfolio between 2012-2020 from 45 to 167 (Pre Covid-19) through growth, startups, and acquisitions. Staff was reduced from 167 to 145 during the pandemic.
In addition, he has founded the Burroughs Capital Group a family office that holds and invests in privately held businesses and real estate assets with a focus on creating long-term value with business partners’ companies. More than developer and landlord, Mr. Burroughs is also an operator and mentor of businesses focusing on unique neighborhood place-making and hospitality: the sorts of places that make communities better places to live and work. Also, Mr. Burroughs focuses on supporting communities’ transformation by creating new businesses and jobs and mentoring business owners and operators.
Mr. Burroughs has been very active and engaged in the Memphis and broader community. In 2010, Mr. and Mrs. Burroughs founded The Burroughs Foundation to work alongside community leaders to develop and support local organizations. For the past eight years, they have contributed to many philanthropic programs that empower diverse communities, specifically to address the educational, health, and social needs of ethnically diverse neighborhoods. As a community and business leader, he is committed to taking the issues that impact them seriously and implement real change. Through his businesses and the foundation, he has made significant contributions to many philanthropic efforts, including the following: founding member of the Governor Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, Shelby County Schools, ArtSpace, Hattiloo Theater, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Memphis, National Civil Rights Museum, Africa Bible Project, and Bridge Builders.
Burroughs currently serves as a member of the Benedict College Board of Trustees, Board of Directors at Guaranty Bank & Trust Company, Board of Directors Governor Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, Chairman of The Burroughs Foundation Inc., Chairman of the Trustee Board of the historic Metropolitan Baptist Church, Memphis NAACP Branch Board of Directors, Global Beauty Alliance Board, and the Vision 2020 Retail Strategy Advisory Committee.
Burroughs holds an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina, where he also earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Political Science.
In 2017, the School of Business & Economics was renamed to the Tyrone Adam Burroughs School of Business and Entrepreneurship at Benedict College due to his unprecedented support. Also, he created the Tyrone A. Burroughs Endowment Fund to help students achieve their dreams to attend college and advance their post-high school studies. To date, 18 full four-year scholarships have been awarded and the first cohort graduated in May 2020.
Based in Memphis, Tennessee, First Choice has helped the health and beauty products industry prosper since 1987. Our primary goal as an organization is to leverage the First Choice brand team’s insight to enhance the awareness of the brands we manage. This is accomplished through extraordinary product placement and sales across a broad range of distribution channels. First Choice has unmatched sales, category management, planogram planning, marketing, public relations, promotion, merchandising, and distribution. Using these valuable skills, we can help products (including those targeted to multi-cultural consumers) succeed in niche markets. Extensive relationships and an emphasis on maintaining our retail partners’ good name contribute to our proven ability to grow and support the growing portfolio of brands we consider part of the First Choice family.
Entrepreneurship is the backbone of our country’s economy. Those who have the courage and fortitude to take risk, step out on faith, engage in new and different ventures while providing opportunities not only for themselves but people from all walks of life. Entrepreneurship means having an idea, bringing it to life, nurturing it, and watching it evolve into economic opportunities for all people without regard to ethnicity or gender. It requires having a vision and the willingness to take a chance and go the extra mile to see that vision come to fruition. Those who possess the entrepreneurial spirit become passionate for effective change and a need to make a mark in the areas where one can make a difference. It means providing examples for others who dream of pursuing an idea and needing the incentives to make it happen. Also, it could create wealth, change people’s lives and how they work. Finally, entrepreneurship can affect the business world by making it more diverse and opening opportunities to those who can but haven’t had a pathway to pursue their passion. Since I was very young, I have always known that I wanted to own my own business to change my life and impact the lives of others and the greater society for the better.
“Great leaders are driven to shift and change the world for humankind”
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