*clears throat* Allow me to preface the following article with the statement, "not all black people." If you are a black person who only shops black, eats black, breaths black, and is all-black -err-thang, this does not pertain to you.
1. Black business can sometimes be hard to find.
In some areas, this is an understatement. And they are hard to find in two ways. Many businesses are simply too far and few between. Although black people make up around 13% of the population, we only account for about 7% of businesses. Studies show that black entrepreneurs are far less likely to receive bank loans compared to white entrepreneurs. Those black entrepreneurs who do receive business loans, often pay higher interest rates. Because of this, most black businesses don't get off the ground.
The second reason black businesses are hard to find is that they aren't always on Google or other search engines. Typing in "Black-owned [business type] near me" can often time be hit or miss, especially when black businesses aren't listed on black business websites.
For the average consumer, searching for black businesses to support can be a tedious job, and with Walmart and other large retailers and service providers nearby, well, you know...
Recently I did a search for black-owned nail salons in my area. My ultimate goal is to stop using Asian owned salons, especially since I get my nails done every two weeks and know how much dollars I alone can circulate in my community. I specifically typed in "black owned nail salon Orlando." One of the first salons to come up was "Nails By Mercede." Granted, didn't do much research outside of finding the address. The salon was less than 10 minutes from my house, so I decided to give them a try. Well, I walked in and to my surprise, it was an Asian salon. I'm sorry to admit I caved. I paid $10 to get my eyebrows done and then had to go home and fix them myself, which I suppose is what I get for just not walking out and searching for another place.
2. When you do find them, they are closed during the hours their door clearly states they are supposed to be open.
This is something I've seen time and time again, and I know we've all been there. You go to your local black-owned furniture store at 3 pm on a Tuesday afternoon and attempt to push open the door just to find it locked. You squint at the glass to see if you misread the open times or if they are closed during lunch. Nope. It clearly states "M-F 10 am - 8 pm. Sat 11am - 7pm. Sun Closed." You call the store, there is no answer. And because you just really need to buy a futon, you say, "fuk it," and off to Ikea you go!
This is something a bit hard to fix from a consumer standpoint, but it shouldn't discourage us. A dollar spends 28 days circulating in the Asian community; in the Jewish community, it's 19 days and in Hispanic communities, 7 days. A dollar circulates for only 6 hours in the black community. We need to do better.
3. Lack of professionalism.
This feeds into the last point. I have heard many reasons from black-folk as to why they don't support black business very often. Most, if not all, of them want to, but find it a headache. I've heard every complaint from, "they are never open," to "they are always late," and "they had an attitude."
Here's the thing. These statements could very well be true, and again and need to be tackled from within the business. But Fortune 500 companies receive the same complaints and business continues to boom. Walmart for example. Notoriously known for never having enough lanes open and employees who would rather do anything, but help you find banana milk. Walmart still makes $482 billion a year in total revenue despite all of the times they "lack professionalism." So, why are we less forgiving of businesses within our own community?
Black businesses that sell goods are sometimes more expensive than other businesses. But this is something that should be understandable. If black businesses aren't doing enough volume, they have no choice but to charge more to stay open. But paying slightly more to help black businesses thrive is going to have to be a necessity if we want to create a new Black Wall Street. Communities that take care of their locally owned businesses have an economic and political advantage. Not only do local business recycle large shares of their revenue back into the community, but business owners often have political footing.
Entrepreneurship is what moves families out of low-wage jobs and into the middle class. We need to take care of each other if we are ever going to have power as a community.
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