All Articles Tagged "black owned business"

Sisters Break Into Challenging Hair Industry To Open Beauty Supply Store

September 10th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
Share to Twitter Email This

Most of us know that 9 times out of 10 when you go to the Beauty Supply, the owners and operators of the store are Korean-American. Despite residing in predominately Black neighborhoods and selling to predominately Black clientele, the store owners rarely reflect the demographic they serve.

This is why sisters Judian and Kadeian Brown’s store is so different. These two Black women, who are also licensed beauticians, own and operate Black Girls Divine Beauty Supply and Salon located off of Church Avenue in Flatbush, Brooklyn

Judian told the New York Times that she often encounters patrons who are surprised to learn that she and her sister own the store instead of just working there.

“I go, ‘Look at all the faces on the boxes. Who should be owning these stores?”

While we could all agree that more Black people should own these stores, that’s not the case around the nation. Of around 10,000 stores that sell hair products to Black women, only a handful of them are owned by Blacks.

According to the Times, Korean- Americans have owned and operated beauty supply stores in Black neighborhoods since as early as the 1960s. These ownerships fueled tensions between the consumers and business owners. There were complaints of racist Korean-American owners following Black customers around the store, assuming that they were going to shoplift. And others took issue because they see Korean dominance in the industry as a way to profit off of Blacks while simultaneously disenfranchising them.

Yet, historically and even today, that discontent has rarely resulted in Black consumers choosing to shop and support Black owned beauty supplies in large numbers, across the nation.

And in many cases, Blacks who were trying to break into the market, faced enormous challenges.

Black store owners ran into problems because wholesalers, who are often Korean, require retailers to buy in bulk to qualify for discounts. Where first-time Korean owners can join forces to split the costs among several store owners, the network of Black beauty supply owners is much smaller.

In Detroit, Princess Hill explained that she would have to order 10,000 berets to get a 50 percent discount and free shipping. But in reality, she might only sell 100 berets in a year.

The inability to get a discount up front often accounts for the higher costs Black owners have to charge their patrons, leading consumers to shop elsewhere and business owners to struggle and eventually close while Korean-owned stores thrive.

But Kaysong Lee, the publisher Beauty Times, says Korea-Americans shouldn’t be demonized for their enterprise.

Lori Tharps, co-author of Hair Story, said before the influx of Korean-American shop owners, there was no one serving the African American market in this way. Instead, Blacks often bought their hair care products from salesmen who traveled door to door.

“A lot of people think these people were taking it away from Black owners, but that’s not the case. They were creating new businesses. And they were doing it in places where nobody wanted to open a store.”

The challenges of breaking into a tough market, make Judian and Kadeian’s story all the more inspiring.

If you’re in the New York City area, you can visit their beauty supply and salon, Black Girls Divine at 3904 Church Ave in Brooklyn, New York.

Attention Shoppers! New App Helps You Locate Black-Owned Businesses

December 10th, 2013 - By Ann Brown
Share to Twitter Email This

blacktradelinesJust in time for holiday shopping — a new app that helps you locate black-owned business.

Similar to the Around The Way app, the BlackTradeLines app was created to help African-American shoppers locate and support black-owned businesses. The app creators have a bigger picture in mind. “This is a result of an ongoing movement to get the African American dollar to circulate within the community to create jobs and alleviate poverty,” reports Virtual Strategy.

“The app is designed to be functionally intelligent and to serve its purpose which is to find and alert you of black businesses any where you go automatically,” says Iyua Yakobu, the company’s senior software engineer.

The app, which can be used on iPhone and Android, can search for African-American owned business in stealth mode. So even when the app is not in use, it uses the phone’s low pulse GPS locator to alert the user when they are 100 meters in walking mode from a black-owned business or 1,000 meters in driving mode, reports the website. There is an alert message that tells the user its proximity in meters or miles between a business or multiple businesses and their location.

Black businesses are categorized by business, deals, events, activities, and videos. For business owners wanting to list a business, download the app, add the name of the business, the product or service, take a picture of the business or product and you’re live and findable.

According to BlackTradeLines, the services both on the website and mobile applications are tailored to connect business owners and their customer base all under one platform.

Black-Owned Nightclubs ‘Unfairly’ Penalized By Rhode Island Officials

August 16th, 2013 - By Kimberly Gedeon
Share to Twitter Email This

Two black-owned nightclubs, Jovan’s Lounge and Snubs, have been “unfairly” punished and fined for gang-related violence that occurred near the establishments. The Rhode Island Black Business Association (RIBBA) and NAACP have come forward to defend the two businesses, insinuating that the unusually harsh penalties are discriminatory, reports Go Local Prov.

At about 2.am. outside of Jovan’s Lounge gunfire erupted between a police sergeant and a suspected gang member. Sgt. Curt Desautels, the officer, is uninjured, but Duvall Carty, 24, remains in critical condition.

In the same time frame, two people were wounded at a shooting near Snubs. These events, which took place three weeks ago, spurred the Providence City Solicitor (PCS) and the Providence Board of Licenses (PBL) to fine Jovan’s $500 and impose a 90-day license suspension. The specifics of Snub’s penalties are unknown.

“I’m worried about the precedent of closing these two establishments that happened outside of their control,” said Jim Vincent of the NAACP. “It would be like if a crime happened outside your home. How could you be held responsible? Or if it happened outside a bank—could we close the bank?”

Carty, the wounded alleged gang member, was ejected from Jovan’s Lounge for fighting before the violent exchange. Representatives of Jovan’s Lounge admitted “an inability to maintain efficient and affirmative supervision of patrons to maintain order…” the Providence Journal reported.

“There’s no excuse for gang violence, but gang activity isn’t going to stop because we close these establishments down,” Vincent added. The RIBBA and NAACP released a statement on Tuesday imploring the city’s solicitor and the Board of Licenses to reconsider the punitive measures.

“These penalties have forced Jovan’s lounge to lose revenue by closing for months and Snubs, Inc to take on additional expenses amounting to unusually harsh penalties for events that took place off of their premises in public areas,” the statement said.

The RIBBA and NAACP also urged the PCS and PBL to take into account the nightclubs’ benefit to the community. “Jovan’s Lounge and Snubs, Inc are two long established Providence black businesses with close ties to the black community,” the statement added. “They are among the small number of black businesses in Rhode Island that provide employment primarily to minority residents, performing artists and musicians.”

Co-signing with Vincent’s sentiments, Lisa Ranglin, President of the RIBBA, is most concerned about how the closings of these nightclubs will affect Providence; “I have binders of qualified people of color who are unable to find jobs. It’s not because of education, but perhaps they don’t fit a model or look a certain way,” she says.

Should the harsh penalties be re-considered?

Failing Black-Owned Chicago Bank Loses Deal To Recapitalize

August 6th, 2013 - By Kimberly Gedeon
Share to Twitter Email This
via Highland Community Bank homepage

via Highland Community Bank homepage

And then there were two.

It’s a wrap for Highland Community Bank, one of three of Chicago’s black-owned banks. The owner of Highland could not raise the $8 million needed for a deal to recapitalize the bank; the institution may now become defunct, reports Crain’s Chicago Business.

Matthew Roth, a former bank executive of Harris Bank, announced a deal in March to bring Highland back on its feet. Although it would no longer be a black-owned bank, he specified that it would be a “minority-focused financial institution” — more than 50 cent of board members would be non-white. The bank would be renamed Generations Community. However, generating nearly $10 million for the deal was too burdensome for Highland.

As MN has reported, Highland has been struggling to retain its vitality for years. Last year the $83 million-asset bank lost $2.2 million. The first half of this year, the bank posted a $781,000 loss. By June 30, their equity crumbled to $1.9 million.

Highland’s most valuable capital — known as “Tier I capital” — was only 2.5 percent of its assets. “A Tier I leverage ratio at 2 percent or lower typically means regulators will seize a bank soon thereafter,” added Crain’s. With the bank severely undercapitalized, Highland is on the brink of downfall.

The demand for non-white financial institutions has dwindled, leading to a number of bank failures. Prior to the 1970s, minority borrowers had difficulty obtaining loans from lenders. As a result, minority-owned banks sprouted throughout America to satisfy the needs of the community. “But because of the federal Community Reinvestment Act, a 1977 law that requires bank to lend in-less-advantaged areas of their communities, this is not as of much an issue anymore,” MN added.

Do you think we still need black-owned banks?

Research Shows Georgia Is Tops For Businesses Owned By Black Women

May 2nd, 2013 - By Tonya Garcia
Share to Twitter Email This

The 2013 State of Women Owned Business Report, produced by American Express OPEN, shows that the number of women-owned businesses across the country has gone up 59 percent since 1997. But even more impressive, the number of female entrepreneurs launching their own businesses has more than doubled in that same time period, jumping 112 percent.

The Athens Banner-Herald takes a closer look at the trend in that state, finding that the new female lifestyle is playing role. Women are waiting longer to get married and start a family, leaving more time to launch a business when they’re younger. But women who have also raised their family and built a career are waiting to act on their entrepreneurial spirit.

“According to the study, minority women-owned businesses have gone from fewer than a million nationwide in 1997 to 2.67 million today. Almost one in three women-owned businesses is run by a minority,” the article continues. Georgia also leads in the number of businesses owned by black women. On the flip side, Alaska ranks dead last for states with women-owned businesses. A woman business owner quoted in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner says it’s because the top industries in Alaska tend to favor men, areas like mining and oil engineering.

To help promote women-owned businesses, the Small Business Association along with AMEX OPEN has just launched ChallengeHER, a national campaign to advance government contracting to women in business. According to information we received (and available here), the program will include free workshops, mentoring opportunities, and access to people who can sign off on those contracts.

The Harlem Shake-Up: New Initiative To Keep Small Black Businesses In the Iconic Neighborhood

February 27th, 2013 - By Ann Brown
Share to Twitter Email This
AP Photo/Kathy Willens

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

For the past few years, Harlem has been experiencing  gentrification, with national chains and high-end stores opening, apartment rents rising, longtime residents moving out, and famed, culturally significant businesses such as the Lenox Lounge, Hue-Man Bookstore, and Harlem Vintage closing.

Now, according to Black Enterprise magazine, the Harlem Business Alliance  has announced that it will put a $700,000 three-year grant toward opening a Small Business Support Center. This will be in an effort to help current small business survive the changing landscape of neighborhood, which until recently was mainly African American. According to the New York Times, blacks are no longer the majority in Harlem.

And white-owned businesses are moving in. As The Network Journal reported, the jazz hot spot, The Lenox Lounge closed after the owner could no longer afford the rent. Restaurateur Richard Notar has now moved in with a new eatery. Notar is a managing partner of the popular Japanese Nobu restaurant chain.

The alliance is using a grant from the Community Economic Development Program issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and will partner with IncubateNYC. The partnership aims to offer shared office space and other business incubation services, among other things. “The center will focus on assisting local shops with the skills and tools they need to stay afloat. Emphasis will especially be placed on teaching marketing, bid preparation, payroll and other crucial operations that many business owners have little to no experience in,” reports BE.

Location, Location, Location: Black Businesses Are Thriving in These Cities

February 26th, 2013 - By Ann Brown
Share to Twitter Email This
Shutterstock

Shutterstock

According to the latest stats, black businesses are booming. The number of American businesses in general have increased by 18 percent, and black-owned firms have expanded by 60.5 percent to 1.9 million between 2002 to 2007, more than triple the national rate according to U.S. Census data, reports the Examiner.

According to the government definition, a black-owned business is a firm with African-American owners holding a 51 percent or greater stake in the business. All of the black businesses in the U.S. accrued $137 billion in sales and receipts, and comprised 7.1 percent of businesses nationwide in 2007, compared to only 5.2 percent in 2002. Most black businesses are small. According to National Urban League president, Marc Morial, and data from Survey of Business Owners: Black-Owned Businesses, 87 percent of all black-owned firms earn less than $50,000 a year in receipts.

Certain industries are heavily saturated with black owners, such as health care and social assistance (19 percent of black-owned businesses), repair and maintenance, and personal and laundry services (another 19 percent of black-owned businesses), and administrative and support, waste management, and remediation service industries, which comprise 11 percent of black-owned businesses, according to Examiner.

And there are various cities and states where black business thrive.

As of 2007, the four cities with the most black-owned businesses are: New York City (154,929); Chicago (58,631); Houston (33,062); and Detroit (32,490).

Detroit has the highest percentage of African-American-owned businesses within the city’s limits at 64 percent.

The three states with the most black-owned businesses, as of 2007, are: New York (204,032); Georgia (183,874); and Florida (181,437),

A Sound Business: Black-Owned Beverly Hills Jazz Club Hits High Note

January 28th, 2013 - By Ann Brown
Share to Twitter Email This
via HOME90210.com

via HOME90210.com

A new African-American-owned Beverly Hills jazz club is making some noise. H.O.M.E. (House of Music & Entertainment), one of the few black-owned jazz clubs around, is becoming a hot spot in Los Angeles.

Owned by aspiring drummer Dennis “D. Anthony” Robertson, H.O.M.E. opened only weeks ago, in November. Robertson, who got his start promoting acts at B.B. King’s at Universal Studios before delving into management, aims to make H.O.M.E. (which has the cool website HOME90210.com) the premier venue for jazz in Los Angeles.

HOME LA 2

Inside H.O.M.E. via Home90210.com

Located just a block from tony Rodeo Drive, H.O.M.E. is in the heart of Beverly Hills. The venue has 250-plus seats, and so far it’s holding its own against competitors such as the Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood and Herb and Eden Alpert’s Vibrato in Bel Air.

Robertson takes the music seriously. He has some of the best sound engineers in town working full time at the club. “The club recently acquired a Yamaha Concert series piano, which is more than seven feet long and rivals any found around here,” according to L.A Weekly.

He has been able to attract a consistent clientele not only because of the music and location but also the food. Robertson describes his approach as “combination of an intimate concert setting and true fine dining,” which, he tells the newspaper, L.A. lacks. Robertson lured in a noteworthy chef, Shawn Davis, to design the menu, which includes entrees like caviar-chive salmon and rack of lamb.

H.O.M.E. offers a weekday jazz lunch (with solo piano) and is planning a Sunday afternoon “Jazz Mystery Theater” with music and audience participation.

If you check it out, let us know what you think.

New Law Passed To Give Black Businesses in New York More City Contracts

January 9th, 2013 - By Ann Brown
Share to Twitter Email This
Shutterstock

Shutterstock

Black businesses in New York City have received a much-needed boost. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the New York City Council have removed various barriers for minority- and women-owned business enterprises by signing into law Introduction 911-A, which will expand city contracts.

This will help small businesses, especially minority- and women-owned firms, as the new law eliminates the $1 million cap on programs eligible for contracts set forth by Local Law 129 signed in 2005. That law was meant to boost opportunities for black and women-owned businesses. It also calls for increased city procurement contracts in areas of goods, professional services, construction, standard services, and architectural and engineering services.

This move is similar to efforts made in Chicago. As we reported in October, black businesses in the Windy City were awarded more city contracts in recent months — 21 percent this year up from just eight percent last year.

If the push in the Big Apple goes as expected, black businesses in the city should see a significant boost. According to a press release, the new law “is estimated to triple the total value of contracts from $433 million to a projected $2.2 billion.”

The city is also planning to track the effort to ensue that progress is being made.  There will be a tracking system for contracts in order to weed out non-compliant M/WBE (minority and women business enterprise) firms. An accountability program, states the press release, will include mandatory meetings for agency leaders to assess progress on the M/WBE goals and efforts to increase participation.

The Reverend Jacques Andre DeGraff , first VP of 100 Black Men and co-chair of The New Agenda, said in a press statement, “Local Law 911-A marks a bold step for the rights of minority- and women-owned businesses.”

Nationally, according to TheStreet.com, the government has missed its stated 23 percent goals for small business contracts, especially for women-owned companies, for the past six years. New legislation signed on the 3rd by President Obama hopes to boost that. If you’re a small business owner, check out the details for being considered in that story.

Is Business Booming? We Catch Up With The People Behind Black Business App, Around The Way

January 7th, 2013 - By Ann Brown
Share to Twitter Email This
Monkey Business Images /Shutterstock

Monkey Business Images /Shutterstock

With competition tight as businesses vie for fewer consumer dollars, any extra help black businesses could get in attracting customers was welcomed. Black businesses have been reaching out to clients via text alerts. A new website called Ujamaa Deals focuses on increasing black product sales online and then there was the debut of a special smartphone app that locates black businesses at your location. And as we reported, The Around The Way app allows users to locate the black-owned businesses in their vicinity, so they can do a little shopping in the community.

“The response to the app has been great. The majority of the comments are from people who want the Android version, which we plan to launch this month,” Janine Hausif, CEO of Around The Way App, tells us. It’s currently only available for the iPhone. “The rest of the comments we’ve gotten have been praise and suggestions. Overall it’s been great. It’s very much like people are helping to shape and mold this app and that’s exactly what we want — for people to make it their own.”

via Facebook

via Facebook

According to Hausif, since the app’s launch in November 2012, they have had over 5,500 downloads. The data bank includes more 17,000 black-owned businesses. It is free for businesses to join.

One of those businesses is Therapy Wine Bar in Brooklyn, NY. For Angela Terry, owner of Therapy, adding her store to the app directory was a no-brainer. “I wanted to get more exposure for my business,” says Terry, who was introduced to the app by Hausif and was one of the first business owners to add her business to the app. “It’s a good idea because as a small business owner we need so many free and affordable outlets to advertise on,” she told us via email.

And, said Terry, she did see a boost in business after joining the app. After shopping, more people stopped into the eatery. “We did see an increase in foot traffic as well as customers talking about the app,” she says.