The past three years of 32-year-old Cory Crosby’s life have been fueled by a passion and desire to create a better self and community. Crosby, who has several start-up businesses under his belt, is a totally self-made man, so you might not guess that three years ago he was released from an eight-and-a-half-year prison stint. He’s since made a new name for himself in Columbia. Fellow local entrepreneur Sean Spence, who has worked with Crosby on several community projects, says, “Cory’s impact is just getting started.” Take a look at what he’s done so far.

2006: Good Guys Auto Detail

Crosby’s days as an entrepreneur date back to 2006 when he launched his first business called Good Guys Auto Detail. Last summer, he revisited his roots with 2 Real Mobile Car Wash. The start-up had individual clients as well as businesses such as Veterans United, which bought 40 washes as gifts to employees.

2007-2016: Prison Sentence

When he was 20, Crosby was arrested for robbery. He spent the last six years of his sentence studying business and developing his passion for fitness by working out every day and teaching a workout class.

February 2016: 2 Real Fitness

A month after his release from prison, Crosby opened 2 Real Fitness, a gym that offered personal training and workout classes. In January 2017, he relocated the gym to a larger facility to accommodate his growing clientele. In October 2018, he closed the gym to focus on his true passion: entrepreneurship. He also began working as community relations manager at KOPN shortly thereafter.

December 2017: Gift 4 Guns

One of many joint projects, Crosby and Spence organized Gift 4 Guns, which offered $100 to people who turned in a gun, no questions asked. Crosby wanted to raise awareness about gun violence in the community as well as for people to have some extra cash for Christmas gifts. Spence thought they’d be lucky to get even 20 guns. Instead, they collected 41.

December 2018: 20 Under 40

Three years after his release, Crosby is already a well-known entrepreneur in the community. He was recognized as one of Columbia Business Times’ 20 under 40 for the success of 2 Real Fitness.

April 2018: Hear My B.L.A.C.K.

Crosby and Spence organized and event called Hear My B.L.A.C.K. to give people in Columbia a chance to hear speakers talk about their struggles and triumphs within the city’s black community.

November 2018: KOPN Bash

Crosby founded the KOPN Bash, a monthly business networking event that connects small business owners and helps them expand their brands. Brandi Rudd [will insert who exactly she be after fact-checking] cohosted the Bash with Crosby in March and says, “(Cory)’s always been very open about his story and not letting that define who he is.”

Winter 2018: "Da Real Plug" Podcast

Over the course of the past winter, Crosby released several episodes of "Da Real Plug," a motivational podcast in which Crosby shares stories about his life and hosts local musical guests.

April 2019: When My Dad Comes Home

Crosby recently released a children’s book entitled When My Dad Comes Home. Throughout his incarceration, whenever Crosby’s children would ask him when he was coming home, he’d send them drawings of all the activities they could do once he got out of prison. He compiled them into a book to help other children cope with having fathers who are away, too, whether because of work or incarceration.

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