Making Men Through Mentorship
Today, Larry Breazeale has a prospering business, a happy family and a vision for the future, but that wasn’t always the case. As a boy growing up in Abita Springs, his life experience taught him that hard work didn’t always pay off as he watched his parents struggle to make ends meet. Larry’s mom worked three jobs and taught him the value of a dollar by instilling a second-to-none work ethic. His dad inspired his entrepreneurial spirit, demonstrating that benefits can come from hard work even with the sometimes-overwhelming effort it takes to run a business. The now confident and centered family man admits, “Even with my parents’ good example, I was an angry kid and got kicked out of high school for fighting.” Where others only saw an unruly youth, one man saw potential. “My first mentor, Steve Burke, helped me channel my energy in a positive way. He taught karate and let me work to pay my tuition. But the work was really listening to motivational tapes and learning a new way to look at life.”
Larry relays his generous teacher’s life-changing lesson, “Fish discover water last.” The saying relates to one who is so deeply immersed in his situation that he’s not aware of it as a shaping force in his life. “He taught me that I didn’t have to be a victim of my circumstances, that I could make something better out of the hand I was dealt. I was able to change my anger into passion.” Burke also led Larry to the National Guard Youth Challenge Program (NGYCP) where he earned his G.E.D. and realized his future potential. In the spirit of paying it forward, Larry currently mentors two young men through the program that changed his life.
In 2007, when Larry first started T.C.B. Cleaning, Inc., he worked three jobs for several years, including time at the Cheesesteak Bistro where owner Tommy Miller became Larry’s next mentor. “He taught me the business side, profit and loss, costs, and the confidence to do greater things.” With a new sense of self, young Larry began envisioning big dreams. “As a kid, I helped my mom clean houses and offices. I said I’d never do that when I got older, but through the guidance of Steve and Tommy, I realized that this may be my “water to discover.” Looking back, I now see my former experiences helped shape the man I am today.”
Larry grew the business steadily, but it took the addition of a special person to take it to the next level. A fellow NGYCP member introduced his cousin Brittany to Larry in 2010, and by 2012 Brittany was part of the team full time. “She moved me out of my comfort zone to help expand our vision to include even larger clients.” Brittany has a keen sense of business due to a mixture of family influences including her grandfather’s entrepreneurial spirit and her father’s corporate background. Larry adds, “I wanted a business with structure, policies, and procedures and she did that.” Brittany laid out the process for expansion. As a preferred janitorial company on the Northshore, T.C.B Cleaning, Inc. now serves Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama and plans to add more states in the future.
When you meet Larry, you see a man focused on his family, his relationships and his company. Larry says he and Brittany have learned the hard lessons of entrepreneurship through blood, sweat, and tears and found their true nature of perseverance and resiliency.
While the company grew, the family grew also. Larry, son Christian, and Brittany welcomed baby Annabelle in 2015. Annabelle mirrors her parents’ visionary spirit by introducing herself as Wonder Woman to office guests. While business keeps Larry busy, his children also keep his attention. Larry coaches Christian in weightlifting and boxing and cheers on Annabelle at dance and gymnastics. The family loves to visit the beach, especially Bay St. Louis.
Larry looks to Christian values to shepherd his growth. “Our business operates under the principle of Proverbs 10:9: ‘He who walks with integrity walks securely.’ Maintaining the highest level of integrity through all levels of the team is the cornerstone of our success. We want clients to have confidence that they can always come to us with questions or concerns and know they’ll always be handled in the utmost professional and competent way.”
Larry has come a long way from his arduous childhood and credits his success to the guidance of God, his faith, parents, family, and the mentors he considers Godsends. “I’m a living example of the American Dream and fully believe that it’s not about where you start in life, but where you finish. My greatest desire is to leave a legacy for my children. I want to be a role model for other young men and give them the tools to be successful for themselves.”
T.C.B. Cleaning, Inc. is located at 1772 Orleans Street in Mandeville. For more information, call 985-869-0691 or visit tcbcleaninginc.com.