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Comer Joseph Cottrell

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Information about Comer Joseph Cottrell

Profile image of Comer Joseph Cottrell

Profession

Category:
BusinessMakers
StyleMakers
Occupation(s):
Personal Care Entrepreneur

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Gumbo
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Caribbean
Favorite Quote:
I shall survive.

Birthplace

Born:
12/7/1931
Birth Location:
Mobile, Alabama

Profession

Category:
BusinessMakers
StyleMakers
Occupation(s):
Personal Care Entrepreneur

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Gumbo
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Caribbean
Favorite Quote:
I shall survive.

Birthplace

Born:
12/7/1931
Birth Location:
Mobile
See how Comer Joseph Cottrell is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Founder of Pro-Line and philanthropist Comer Joseph Cottrell was born December 7, 1931 in Mobile, Alabama. His parents, Comer J., Sr. and Helen Smith Cottrell were black Catholics. As a youngster, Cottrell and his brother, Jimmy, turned a pair of bunnies into a business, including selling their progeny as Easter bunnies, meat and fur. Cottrell attended Heart of Mary Elementary and Secondary Schools. At age seventeen, Cottrell joined the United States Air Force where he attained the rank of First Sergeant and managed an Air Force PX in Okinawa. Cottrell attended the University of Detroit before leaving the service in 1954. He joined Sears Roebuck in 1964 and rose to the position of division manager in Los Angeles, California.

In 1968, with an initial investment of $600.00, Cottrell and a friend got into the black hair care business. Then, with his brother, Jimmy, Cottrell manufactured strawberry scented oil sheen for Afro hairstyles and founded Pro-Line Corporation in 1970. By 1973, he made his first million dollars in sales. In 1979, Cottrell took the $200.00 “Jerry Curl” out of the beauty shop and into black homes with his $8.00 Pro-Line “Curly Kit”, which increased his sales from one million dollars a year to ten million dollars in the first six months. Shortly thereafter Cottrell moved Pro-Line to Dallas, Texas. At the top of the ethnic hair care business, Cottrell became a part owner, with George W. Bush of the Texas Rangers professional baseball team in 1989; turning a $3 million dollar profit on a $500,000.00 investment. He also founded FCC Investment Corporation.

In 1990, he purchased and restored the 131-acre, HBCU, Bishop College campus for $1.5 million and transferred it to A.M.E. Paul Quinn College. Cottrell is a trustee of Northwood University and a member of the Dallas Chamber of Commerce, the North Texas Commission, and the Dallas Citizens Council. He was the former chairman of the Texas Cosmetology Commission and vice chair of the Texas Youth Commission. He was a board member or officer of NAACP, National Urban League, YMCA, Dallas Family Hospital, Better Business Bureau, Compton College Foundation, Paul Quinn College and Baylor University Foundation. Cottrell was former vice chair of the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce. Recipient of scores of awards, Cottrell hosted a yearly “Taste of Cottrell” event in Dallas.

Cottrell passed away on October 3, 2014.

See how Comer Joseph Cottrell is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Comer Joseph Cottrell's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Comer Joseph Cottrell lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Comer Joseph Cottrell describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Comer Joseph Cottrell describes how his mother's family lost their property in Mobile, Alabama
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about his mother's education and early career in Mobile, Alabama
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about his parents' courtship
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Comer Joseph Cottrell describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about the racism that he encountered in Gulfport, Mississippi and Mobile, Alabama
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about his father's founding of Booker T. Washington Insurance Company in Birmingham, Alabama
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about his father's career in the insurance industry
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about HistoryMaker Bishop Joseph Howze and Bishop Carl Fisher
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Comer Joseph Cottrell describes his childhood household in Mobile, Alabama
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Comer Joseph Cottrell describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Mobile, Alabama
  • Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Comer Joseph Cottrell recalls attending Lillie B. Williamson High School for elementary school in Mobile, Alabama
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Comer Joseph Cottrell describes his experience attending Lillie B. Williamson High School for elementary school in Mobile, Alabama
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Comer Joseph Cottrell remembers black professional baseball players he encountered while they were growing up in Mobile, Alabama
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Comer Joseph Cottrell describes his experience attending Dunbar High School in Mobile, Alabama
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about the year he spent attending the University of Detroit in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about joining the U.S. Air Force in 1949
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Comer Joseph Cottrell describes his experience in the U.S. Air Force at the onset of the Korean War
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Comer Joseph Cottrell describes his experience in Okinawa, Japan while serving in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Comer Joseph Cottrell recalls his involvement in a soldier's dishonorable discharge while serving as first sergeant in the U.S. Air Force in Okinawa
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about his additional jobs on the U.S. Air Force base in Okinawa, Japan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about his experience at the Oakland Filter Center on Project Blue Book
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Comer Joseph Cottrell recalls the circumstances surrounding his first marriage and the birth of his first child
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Comer Joseph Cottrell recalls starting his first small business when he moved to California in 1956
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about working in sales at Sears, Roebuck and Co.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about his reason for entering the hair care industry and founding Pro-Line Corporation
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about the initial days of product development for Pro-Line Corporation
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about Pro-Line Corporation's initial marketing and sales strategies
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about the success of Pro-Line Corporation's Curly Kit
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about the heavy competition against Pro-Line Corporation's Curly Kit
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about Pro-Line Corporation's high sales revenues
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Comer Joseph Cottrell explains his decision to sell Pro-Line Corporation in 2001
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Comer Joseph Cottrell describes his practice of reinvesting profits in Pro-Line Corporation
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Comer Joseph Cottrell describes his guiding philosophy of management at Pro-Line Corporation
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Comer Joseph Cottrell explains his reason for moving Pro-Line Corporation from Los Angeles, California to Dallas, Texas
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Comer Joseph Cottrell describes his initial involvement with politics and his current political concerns
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about his impressions of President George Walker Bush
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Comer Joseph Cottrell recalls an interaction where President Ronald Wilson Reagan showed a lack of interest in the African American community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Comer Joseph Cottrell describes his involvement with Bishop College in Dallas, Texas and his efforts to save it from bankruptcy, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Comer Joseph Cottrell describes his involvement with Bishop College in Dallas, Texas and his efforts to save it from bankruptcy, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Comer Joseph Cottrell describes the continued challenges in operating Paul Quinn College in Dallas, Texas
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about his accomplishments as vice chair of the Texas Youth Commission
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Comer Joseph Cottrell describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Comer Joseph Cottrell reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Comer Joseph Cottrell reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Comer Joseph Cottrell talks about his family
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Comer Joseph Cottrell describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Comer Joseph Cottrell narrates his photographs