President and Co-Founder of College Hunks Hauling Junk & College Hunks Moving
Back in 2002, Nick Friedman and his buddy Omar Soliman went big time with a simple summer business plan. The idea? They’d market themselves as “college hunks” and help people haul junk out of their homes and businesses. That simple idea helped platoon the two entrepreneurs into the national spotlight as they grew to more than 30 franchises across the country. Nick recently put a charitable spin on the company when he proposed they partner with Goodwill to reuse some of the donated items they collected on their hauls. The national partnership has helped give a new life to otherwise unwanted items and help those less-fortunate residents in need. Nick lives on Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa with his fiancé, Jennifer.
How did you become involved with your charity? We developed a national partnership with Goodwill organizations whereby we donate all reusable items that our company hauls away. We realized that a lot of items that we haul away have a value for others less fortunate and we formed this partnership, which has produced over 10,000 tons of donated goods annually in addition to over $20,000 in annual cash donations.
What is one of your favorite memories when working with your charity? Hosting a charitable version of a grand opening at our new headquarters in Ybor. We asked all our guests to donate items, which we then gave to Goodwill-Suncoast. We had a lot of fun and, where most grand openings tend to be a little self-indulgent, we instead used the press from the event to help a great cause. We really had a blast and I won’t soon forget that day.
What is one of your favorite charity events in Tampa Bay and why? The ALS Walk because my fiancé’s uncle passed away from Lou Gehrig’s disease and the event is always very meaningful with a great turnout and lots of positive energy and momentum toward finding a cure.
As a leading man, what is one of your proudest accomplishments? Publishing a book entitled “Effortless Entrepreneur” that led to an invitation for us to speak on a panel at the White House about youth entrepreneurship. It was hosted by MTV.
What’s one food you won’t eat? Escargot
How do you like to unwind? Playing basketball at the South Tampa YMCA (2013 Men’s League Champions!)
Who do you most admire in Tampa Bay? Bob Johnston, founder of Melting Pot Restaurants and Front Burner Brands, because he started his business in college, like we did, and now has over 100 franchise owners. He has become one of our most valued mentors and business advisers. He also is extremely involved in charity with the St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and helped inspire me to champion a cause in our company as well.
Outside of charity work, what inspires you? Entrepreneurship inspires me… Starting with an idea and turning it into a reality that adds value to the world is one of the most magical things anyone can do.
Which Bay-area spots do you take your out-of-town guests to really show off our city? Our office building in Ybor City, Hula Bay, Hyde Park and South Howard, and the Gulf coast beaches.
What advice would you pass on to younger generations? Work smart, play hard and enjoy life because there is no dress rehearsal.
What are you currently reading? “No Man’s Land: What To Do When Your Business is Too Big to Be Small, and Too Small to Be Big” by Doug Tatum
What does your dream vacation look like? Bora Bora, relaxing in a hut on the water
If you could have a super power what would it be and why? Flying, so I could play in the NBA and dunk on everyone
Name one thing most people wouldn’t know about you: I have been on five different reality TV shows on five different networks.
What did you want to be when you were a kid? A professional basketball player
Favorite album of all time: The Carter III by Lil’ Wayne
Favorite childhood television show: The Simpsons
Who is your favorite hero of fiction? The Incredible Hulk
If a movie were made about your life, whom would you want to play you? Justin Timberlake
Do you have a motto or words of wisdom that you live by? Work on the business, not in the business.