Written for BrendolynMarie.com by Contributor Erika Nicole
So, why aren’t you supporting black owned businesses?
Is it because the service is poor? Is it because the prices are high? Is it because the “good ones” are not located where you live, work and play? Or is it because the services you need aren’t provided by people of color?
Let me be clear, I am all for diversity and trying new things but in the midst of us mixing and mingling, the African American community has thrown our gifts, talents, food and culture to the wayside in order to make room for all the new customs and cultures, now living in the United States. Maybe this is why we choose to give so much money to other communities by way of food and physical accessories. According to the NAACP’s blog entitled, “Know Your Worth: If We Don’t Know, We Can’t Grow Our Community” it states: First, we must stop the massive “leakage” of our money out of our communities. Currently, a dollar circulates in Asian communities for a month, in Jewish communities approximately 20 days and white communities 17 days. How long does a dollar circulate in the black community? 6 hours!!! African American buying power is at 1.1 Trillion; and yet only 2 cents of every dollar an African American spends in this country goes to black owned businesses. (NAACP.org, Retrieved March 31, 2014) Amazingly sad right?! I believe there are four major reasons why Black patrons don’t support Black businesses: Organization, Confrontation, Location and Justification.
Organization. The organization of some of our beloved establishments lack fundamental business practices and standards, period. Most times, our brothers and sisters have never seen quality businesses and can only mimic what they’ve seen. For example, if the only Black business in your community was a corner store. It is likely the store owner kept convenient hours with unconventional bookkeeping methods; such as a struggling mother getting milk and bread on loan or little kids getting candy for good report cards. These are great examples of this business being an institution of support for the community but that does nothing to ensure that Mr. X’s Store is thriving. I know it can be hard to spend your hard-earned money with Pookie and ‘nem especially, when they don’t keep the office hours posted or they allow unsavory clientele to linger in their establishment. It’s also hard to take a business serious when the quality of work or service is unpredictable like Midwest weather but everyone deserves a chance at changing their lives and the trajectory of their family’s lives. The idea of small business is not new to the Black community but organized business maybe a new concept. Keeping a clean location, returning message and emails, along with remaining in good standing with the municipality, city, state or federal government is critical to keeping a popular business profitable and growing. The little things that we tend to overlook as business owners are the things that yell “don’t come back” to patrons. Is the staff matching in uniform? Is there even a uniform or do you show up in whatever you have on? Is the hostess texting or is the busboy flirting? How long has the restroom been out of order? Why don’t you accept credit or debit cards? Yes, all of these things cost money or take money to produce but if you want to be in the big leagues, you have to come ready to bat. These minute details keep patrons from returning and most importantly, it keeps folks talking about you negatively. The organization of your business – from bookkeeping to staffing – is a major complaint of why Black patrons don’t support Black businesses.
To be Continued…. Part Two: ” Confrontation”
Erika Nicole is a Saint Louis native, she holds a degree in Public Relations with a minor in Journalism. Not only has she spent her life helping others she is also the owner of Naturally Perfect Calligraphy Candles, a small batch scented soy candle company that strives to create your favorite aromatherapy pieces, by hand.