The Harlem business community mourns the loss of Jeff Hamer

Photo credit: Bob Gore

Jeff Hamer, Senior Finance Account Manager at Upper Manhattan NYC Business Solutions has impacted the lives of so many business owners in Harlem, starting with mine. Afrikanspot LLC and Africa in Harlem would have not existed without the help of Jeff Hamer.

Meetings after meetings he made sure that I was, and stayed on the right track. And with his quiet demeanor and always welcoming smile, Jeff Hamer would always make you feel special.

On Saturday May 15, 2021, members of the community gathered at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem where he was a trustee, a mentor, but also a member of the inspirational voices choir, to celebrate his life and say thank you to the man who has given so much to so many.

“He was one of the first and most dedicated volunteers and mentors in Blue Nile,” said Abyssinian Baptist Church Pastor, Rev. Dr. Calvin Butts, III. “He has been a devoted servant of the Lord Savior Jesus Christ. He spread the Christian love throughout the church and the Blue Nile Village. Through his words of wisdom and understanding he’s been a source of encouragement and support. Through Blue Nile, Jeff Hamer, his family and his community will continue to be an example. And in spite of any personal challenges, he chose never to stop loving, never to stop giving, and never to stop caring for others.”

“I used to call him my baby brother when we were growing up until he got taller than me, then I called him my younger brother,” said Daryl Hamer. “You know, if I can say one thing, I want each of you to treasure every moment that you have with your family, and when I say ‘family,’ I don’t just mean your blood, but those who touch you. You never know… where it says no man knows the minute nor the hour… I may have it all mixed up. I’m a little mixed up right now, but my brother, our brother, was a remarkable young man. The memories that this family has will last forever.”

“My colleague, my friend, my brother in Christ my heart is empty, my words are scarce,” said Christian Damiba, Director of the Upper Manhattan NYC Business Solutions Center. “Nine years ago, when I met you, you welcomed me with warmth and made me feel at home right away. This is how, naturally, with a selfless heart, kindness, thoughtfulness and humility, you impacted every lives you touched. Thank you for your wisdom, your advice, the happy hours, the great restaurant spots we were sponsoring, the laughters, life-talks and prayers. I have grown knowing you.”

“He and I even developed a tag-team strategy when meeting with small business owners and entrepreneurs who were either seeking to open a business or gain access to valuable capital,” said Curtis Archer, the president of the Harlem Community Development Corporation. “We had our dog-and-pony show so tight, we could almost anticipate what each other were about to say. So, you may look around Harlem and say, ‘WOW’ things have really changed! There are so many new restaurants and small businesses. Well, I’m here to let you know that Jeff, no doubt, had a hand in their founding or success. He did all without fanfare or wide notoriety.”

“I always called Jeff the Mayor of Harlem — he had his hands on the pulse of the community and the needs of the small business owners,” said Gregg Bishop, the former Commissioner of Small Business Services. “We should be proud of the legacy he leaves behind.”

“A lot of people take credit for Harlem Chocolate Factory. A LOT.” said Jessica Spaulding, the founder and CEO of Harlem Chocolate Factory. “This man is the only person who truly can, but he was so humble he’d never do it. So many people benefit from the work Jeff Hamer did. This is a devastating loss for Harlem.”