Author Topic: Oakland Tribune Newspaper article  (Read 1582 times)


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Oakland Tribune Newspaper article
« on: October 14, 2003, 02:25:20 AM »
Business Spotlight

Apartment owner kicks it with kids


Underprivileged youth of many backgrounds come together,

learn confidence, discipline from martial arts


By Janis Mara


Reprinted from the Oakland Tribune Newspaper Sunday, October 12, 2003


CASTRO VALLEY--Although the bulk of his income is derived from the multi-unit apartments he owns, it's apparent that Mark Gerry's greatest riches come from his work with under-privileged children.


Gerry, who owns a total of 50 rental units in buildings scattered through Hayward, San Lorenzo and Castro Valley, also owns' three East Bay martial arts studios, two in Hayward with partner Alan Sim and one in Pleasanton. Youngsters from low-income backgrounds, many of them the children of his tenants, work out for free under Gerry's tutelage at his dojo on Center Street In Hayward.


Gerry's father, R.T. Gerry, began building the family's rental business, Gerry Properties, shortly after coming to Oakland in the 1940s. R.T. Gerry worked as a landscape contractor during the day and repaired and maintained his rental properties at night.

Mark Gerry, born in Castro Valley where his father eventually settled, has worked in the business "since Infancy."  

"Ever since I can remember, I traveled around with my dad in the truck at night and helped out," said Mark Gerry, who still lives in Castro Valley.  "We would change faucets, install switches, do all kinds of stuff."


Though he started a limousine business, Stars Limousine, in Hayward in May 1982, Mark Gerry's first priority remained the rental business. When his Mark’s father died in 1995, he sold Stars Limousine to concentrate on Gerry Properties, taking over as president of the company, which he runs with his sister Rhonda Gerry. He handles purchasing, tenant issues and property purchases, among other things, for the business.

“My tenants are like my family,” he said. “I know everyone of my tenants, I know their names and their kids' names.”  Business for Gerry Properties is flat from last year, Mark Gerry said.


"I have dropped rents for some of my tenants who came in during the dot-com boom when rents were spiking", Mark Gerry said. "They were good tenants, and I wanted to give them an incentive to stay.”


 Mark Gerry took up martial arts at age 15.

"I got tired of being beaten up and hooked up with Alan Sim, who taught me martial arts in his back yard. Now, he's my partner in the studios,” Mark Gerry said.


The studios, Koryo Martial Arts, were established in 1983. Mark Gerry holds a fifth degree black belt in Kajukenbo, a form that was developed in Hawaii in 1947, as well as a fifth degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.


Mark Gerry's children, Nicholas, 15, and Nicole, 12, started studying martial arts at age 5 in their father's school. They now train in Brentwood, where they live with their mother.


Single mother says son benefited from martial arts training


“All my students at the school on Center Street are low-income kids or adults. They're It African American, Hispanic, Asian, Palestinian. They speak Arabic, Korean, Spanish, and they all get along great. I get a blast out of that," Mark Gerry said.


Jenny Henriquez, a Castro Valley resident who works in banking, said her son has benefited from Gerry's martial arts tutelage.

"I'm a single mother, and my son was only around women; he didn't know how to defend himself," Henriquez said. ”I just happened to mention it in conversation with Mark, who is a customer of mine.


“He offered to teach Adam for free. My son is so confident now,” said Henriquez.

Janis Mara can be reached at (510) 293-2465.




Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do