A daring departure for Gourmet

B.E. 100s concern branches out into campus management

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Perhaps managing a multimillion dollar food service empire wasn’t enough to keep Gourmet Companies CEO Nathaniel R. Goldston III fully occupied. How else to explain his recent decision to branch out into, of all things, dormitory management?

Then again, upon closer scrutiny the move isn’t quite so far-fetched. Atlanta-based Gourmet Companies (No. 52 on the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 list with $39 million in revenues) already provided food services for several historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) across the country. Now under a newly formed subsidiary, Quality Campus Management (QCM), Goldston will be responsible for constructing and managing residence halls, providing health-care services, parking facilities and bookstores at institutions including Wilberforce University in Ohio and Savannah State College in Georgia.

After conducting a market analysis last year, Goldston decided his 24-year-old company was in need of a kick start. And after working with black universities for several years, he says it became apparent that a great number of dormitories on these campuses needed some improvement. It wasn’t much of a stretch to expand the existing relationships he had with many HBCUs across the country. “Our niche market is the HBCUs,” Goldston says. “That’s who we service best.”

He’s currently completing a study analyzing the repairs needed to revamp dorms on the Wilberforce campus. Goldston, who’s being paid $25,000 to complete the study, estimates that Wilberforce will be a $2.5-$3 million project.

Goldston projects that QCM will gross $4.4 million in sales in its initial year. “We’ll seek out black-owned contractors, healthcare companies and security firms as joint venture partners and subcontractors,” says Kimberly R. Goldston, QCM’s president. They’ve already tapped several other African American firms to get the project under way. Nashville, Tennessee-based Healthcare International Management Co. will manage the medical facilities, while Atlanta-based Burke’s Companies Inc. will handle building and grounds maintenance. The plan is for QCM to provide dorms with air-conditioning, hotel-style key cards, computers, maid and laundry service, minitheaters, ATMs and fitness and business centers.