African-American life is in the cards for entrepreneur 0...


January 24, 1993|By Mary Corey | Mary Corey,Staff Writer

African-American life is in the cards for entrepreneur 0) Anthony Evans

Whether someone's sick, celebrating or grieving, Anthony Evans always has just the right card -- in the trunk of his car.

It's a perk of being president of a local greeting card company.

These cards have a twist, though: They depict African-American life.

"The African-American consumer wanted greeting cards with images of themselves. There was definitely a need. It's basic sociology. If you buy a card, you want it to reflect you," says Mr. Evans, 22, who works out of his Northwest Baltimore home.

Along with more common holiday and birthday messages, the 20 different designs include poems about black awareness and Kwanzaa.

He and two partners formed the company two years ago after he graduated from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. Although planned on going to law school, he found the idea of becoming an entrepreneur irresistible. Convincing banks that three young men with no business experience were worth investing in wasn't as easy, though.

Today Mr. Evans does everything from answering phones to folding cards to inspiring artists. Although he has 15 stores as clients and a growing mail-order business, he hasn't been able to earn a living from the company, which is called Tres-Star Enterprises. To supplement his income, he teaches at a day-care center.

As for his own choice in missives, Mr. Evans is curiously mum.

B6 "I don't really purchase greeting cards," he says.

GR COLOR PHOTO After 35 years and 174 honorees, the City College Hall of Fame recently inducted its first woman: Blanche Ford Bowlsbey.

The first female teacher at the school, she spent 20 years with a tough task: trying to get teen-age boys to sing.

"They thought music was sissy," she says. "So I asked 12 of the biggest boys I could get, the football players, to do a chorus routine. Then the other boys in the school thought, 'If those boys could do it, maybe music isn't so sissy after all,' " says Ms. Bowlsbey, 86, who lives in Finksburg.

During her tenure, she taught some 30,000 youngsters to appreciate classical and contemporary songs -- or at least tried. Former students Gov. William Donald Schaefer and Lt. Gov. Melvin Steinberg never showed much interest, she says, although another pupil, Spiro Malas, is now a renowned opera singer. ("When he came to me, he was scared to death. He had a beautiful voice but no idea how to use it," she says.)

Ms. Bowlsbey never planned to be a music teacher. She was asked to substitute teach for a few days. Three days, she says, turned into 37 years.

Although she's retired, she still puts on an annual musical, whicsome students participate in.

Just don't ask her about today's songs.

"Youngsters are not hearing music," she says with a sigh"They're hearing loud, fast, popular stuff."

Have someone to suggest? Write Mary Corey, Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278, or call (410) 332-6156.

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