The Franklin County Commissioners this morning joined Congresswoman Joyce Beatty and representatives from IMPACT Community Action to formally open the Otto Beatty Jr. Men’s Shop at IMPACT’s facility on the near-south side of Columbus. The shop will make professional attire available to men who are working to recover in the pandemic economy as well as providing wraparound supportive services, and is named after the congresswoman’s late husband, Otto Beatty Jr.
“When you look good, you feel good,” said Board President Erica C. Crawley. “Helping men, particularly men of color, move up the economic mobility ladder is essential to strengthening our community. We are proud to support the legacy of Otto Beatty, Jr., a trailblazer in our community who was known to mentor and uplift others. We are carrying out his legacy by providing clothing and offering an opportunity for residents to feel good about themselves for an interview or meeting. By providing access to good paying jobs, these men can successfully support themselves and their family, and that is a feeling we want for our neighbors every single day.”
Otto Beatty Jr. was a former state senator and long-time community icon in Central Ohio who worked with the Columbus Metropolitan Area Community Action Organization, predecessor to IMPACT. Following Beatty’s death, a year ago, his family conceived of this project to continue his legacy and donated his sizable collection of professional attire.
According to Congresswoman Beatty, “Otto wholeheartedly believed that dressing in professional attire can change how a person feels about themselves and how they are perceived by others, and this is the vision that our family wishes to bring to the Otto Beatty Jr. Men’s Shop.”
The Otto Beatty Jr. Men’s Shop is located at IMPACT Community Action at 711 Southwood Avenue in Columbus and is a partnership with Nehemiah House of Refuge and Dress for Success, which provides similar services to women. It will be open by appointment to clients of IMPACT’s workforce development programs, and in addition to clothing, will provide much-needed wraparound services to address the barriers faced by disadvantaged men who are seeking employment and working toward self-sufficiency.
“Many Franklin County residents have struggled through the pandemic’s economy, only to find themselves without the proper resources to find a good paying job,” said Commissioner John O’Grady. “The county always appreciates the opportunity to partner with IMPACT and it’s an honor and a privilege to be part of Otto Beatty, Jr.’s legacy. He was a community leader that gave so much and asked for so little in return.”
IMPACT Community Action has been in operation since 2008, breaking barriers, changing cycles, and transforming lives by serving nearly 25,000 people each year with housing and living expense support, and workforce development and training programs. During the pandemic, IMPACT has used funding from Franklin County to help residents recover, including the construction of the Otto Beatty, Jr. Men’s Shop. In 2022, IMPACT will be expanding its workforce support, creating a community café, garden, and test kitchen for aspiring entrepreneurs, and improving its facilities in general.
“This morning I put on my Otto Beatty, Jr. special tie and somehow, I felt stronger, wiser and more powerful…ready to face whatever comes my way,” stated Bo Chilton, CEO of IMPACT. “I want everyone to have that same sense of pride and confidence when they come to the Otto Beatty Jr. Men’s Shop.”
At the Otto Beatty Men’s Shop, clients will find professional attire, shirts and ties, suits, and dress shoes, and more. They can wear the clothes to job interviews and at work and will also benefit from the support and experience of IMPACT staff who will be able to advise them about getting and keeping a good job and connect them with other services they may need from haircuts to shoeshines, as well as workforce training programs, financial education, and other services.
“This initiative is personal for me,” said Commissioner Kevin L. Boyce. “When I think about the substantial legacy the Beatty family has had in Central Ohio, and particularly the impact the Beattys have had on the black men in this community, I think about what defines this opportunity for IMPACT and about the kind of person Otto was; he was trusted, respected, appreciated and most importantly loved. I hope we all live up to that legacy in ways that will continue to change and build Central Ohio, and I carry with me the wisdom that my great friend and mentor Otto Beatty, Jr. shared by always doing the hard work.”
County funding for the Otto Beatty Men’s Shop is made available via the American Rescue Plan. More information about how the commissioners are using ARP funding to help our community recover can be found at Recovery.FranklinCountyOhio.gov
. More information about Impact Community Action is available at ImpactCA.org