Sharon Owens-Clark reminisces to the year 1999, working at her kitchen table, a self-employed business owner selling an array of products, with her start-up World Class Marketing. Owens-Clark knew her passion was entrepreneurial work; through will, prayer and determination, she was eager to use her vision for something extraordinary.
Now in 2023, Owens-Clark is president and CEO of World Class Solutions Inc., a multi-faceted vendor and distributor offering a variety of products to businesses, government contractors, schools and individuals. Her products range from office supplies, food services, industrial and tactical machinery, plumbing and HVAC equipment.
In the last 20 years, Owens-Clark has employed more than 30 individuals, owns two commercial buildings and has reached out to the Newport News community by expanding her client base from states including Florida and South Carolina. Now, she says her company goal is to “go worldwide! My team and I envision international clientele as one of our top long-term objectives at the moment.”
Currently, Owens-Clark clients include the Smithsonian, the Newport News Sheriff’s Office and universities such as Christopher Newport University. She has also supported nonprofits within the Newport News area and different community service foundations. Owens-Clark says, “My team and I have made it a priority to work with larger corporations, but now we are focusing on expanding to private sectors and small businesses as well; social media is crucial for that.”
A Newport News native, this entrepreneur elaborates on her love for the community itself. Being a local, she makes it a priority to support her community by mentoring youth and offering summer employment to prospects interested in learning more about business. She “loves Newport News,” with its diverse opportunities, including “ Newport News Shipyard, joint U.S Army-Navy installations, historical sites and Jefferson Lab.”
Owens-Clark talks about the versatility of owning a vendor business, especially in times of crisis. During the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, she was pleased she could give back to her community in a time of need. “COVID-19 was a time when my business was at its peak,” Owens-Clark says. “Because of the versatility of supplies, my team and I could help the Newport News Health Department, the Newport News Police Department and the city of Hampton, providing items such as face masks, sanitizing products and medical supplies.”
Owens-Clark loves her work. She is also a fulltime mother of four children, some of whom are fulltime college students. She takes pride in being able to balance her business and her personal life. “Supporting one’s family while maintaining a business is crucial. You need to ensure every day that you’re crossing all the T’s, dotting all the I’s and being supportive whenever your family needs you.” In addition, Owens-Clark’s husband, John, has worked alongside her since the start of her career, supporting her every step of the way.
Owens-Clark says, “My husband travels with me to every event for new products and educates me on tactical items and supplies; he is my right-hand person.”
Owens-Clark voices the importance of resilience in being a fulltime business owner. “You might not even see a profit until five years into your market,” she says. “People may see the fame and success of businesses, but they do not see the crawl it takes to get there.” However, she believes staying committed, humble, close to one’s values and disciplined will lead to success.
TO THE POINT:
World Class Solutions Inc.
Address: 2815 Huntington Ave., Newport News, VA 23607
Contact: Sharon Owens-Clark