Tyrone Pitts, a Camden born entrepreneur, owns a vertically integrated construction company, restaurant, daycare, and tutoring business. Named after his father, a former Camden mechanic, Arline Services and Institute target what Tyrone views as meeting two of Camden’s two biggest needs: education and housing. He explains, “In education we have to change the dynamics of how people think and how people begin to reason. In housing I think that is very important. When I was young we got evicted when I was in 8th grade. I know what it is like to be homeless and so I think housing is important because it gives people stability.”
Tyrone graduated as the valedictorian of his high school and went on to the University of Pennsylvania. “I was a straight-A student and an outstanding athlete. Penn came after me. Rutgers’s scholar program came after me. There were quite a few different schools. It kind of worked out because Penn had the Wharton school of business, which I was interested in, and they had an outstanding basketball program.” After graduating from Penn, Tyrone played basketball internationally and was an assistant coach for the Cornell University basketball team.
In terms of doing business in Camden Tyrone believes, “It is amazing that a lot of people don’t recognize the opportunities that are available in the City of Camden. They kind of look at it as a place where business doesn’t occur. But people just have to uncover the opportunity. There are so many untapped opportunities here, and people trying to develop businesses do try to meet the needs of this community.”
Most people just look at Camden as a poor place. “What they don’t understand is that most of the people here, although their incomes are low, they dispose of everything they have. So they utilize all their money and it becomes disposable income, which makes for a very fertile business development endeavor.”
What makes Tyrone successful? His drive. “My ability to not take no for an answer. It is my makeup coming from a place like Camden where things get tough a lot of times. You learn to endure and work through problems that normal people would just quit.”