A couple of years ago, Raymond Gray’s son wanted a skateboard, and he knew exactly where to go to buy one. There was a skateboard shop up the street from his plumbing business, A-1 Total Service Plumbing. Raymond and his son walked down to The Garage Board Shop and bought some skateboards and met the founder, Jerry Carrera. Raymond and Jerry continued to stay in touch and later, when Jerry had a plumbing problem, he naturally came down to the A-1 Total Service Plumbing shop. It was then that Raymond and Jerry started having conversations about what they could do together to help better the community.
About The Urban Warehouse
The Garage Board Shop’s non-profit arm, The Urban Warehouse is an after-school program for kids 8-18 years old in East Los Angeles. They provide tutoring, teach entrepreneurship, and show kids how to give back and clean up the community. They educate the kids about getting a college degree to wherever they want to go. And they realize that not everybody is set up for going to college. So they also teach kids how to have an entrepreneurial mindset so they can pursue what interests them.
The Work We Do With Them
Since the partnership began in 2022, the team at A-1 Total Service Plumbing has helped The Garage and The Urban Warehouse in a variety of ways. Every year in East Los Angeles, The Garage sponsors “El Grito,” a large event where the community comes together to celebrate Mexican Independence Day. A-1 donated to the event and set up a booth to share employment opportunities and let the kids play with plumbing equipment. Additionally, A-1 employees have volunteered at The Urban Warehouse food drives to help feed the neighborhood. They also gave a special donation to a family in critical need.
When Raymond first started his plumbing shop on Whittier Blvd, he used to drive by The Garage and wonder what all their “chaos” was about. He didn’t realize until later, after conversations with Jerry, that the “chaos” was monthly food drives that The Urban Warehouse did for the community.
When asked about the benefit of the relationship between The Garage, The Urban Warehouse and A-1 Total Service Plumbing, Jerry said, “When I think of A-1, I see an opportunity for my kids in the future. Growing up, my dad showed me how to shovel and asked me, Is this what you want to do? I said, I don’t know, but let me try it. And I became a Contractor. So if I give a kid the opportunity to shovel, lay a pipe, get a career where they don’t have to go to college for 4 years, that’s helpful to them. I tell the kids, it doesn’t matter what you do, but do something in life.”
Ultimately, Raymond’s hope is that A-1 Total Service Plumbing can help The Garage and The Urban Warehouse make a meaningful impact in the lives of kids and their families in East Los Angeles.