When I was younger I had an older cousin with a coffee and lemonade stand. Every Saturday morning he would sell coffee. Then, in the afternoon, he switched to lemonade. During the summer he operated six days a week. He saved enough money to buy more product, then buy a video game for himself. He eventually purchased a mobile basketball goal for the neighborhood. Everyone was allowed play.
I’ll never forget the countless days and nights of playing basketball on that goal with my family, friends and neighbors. We played parents vs kids, neighbors vs neighbors, neighborhoods vs neighborhoods and more. I will never forget my cousin’s commitment and dedication to being a successful entrepreneur or him giving back to his community. My cousin is my inspiration. He inspired me and everyone who experienced the joy of his choice to give back.
This story shows how spending with small and black owned businesses can benefit the community. I hope on Black Friday this year you’ll consider spending your money at a small, locally owned or black-owned business.
According to the New York Times, “Blacks spend less money in black-owned businesses than other racial and ethnic groups spend in businesses owned by members of their groups, including Hispanics and Asians. A report by Nielsen and Essence estimates that black buying power will reach $1.3 trillion in the next few years, yet only a tiny fraction of that money is spent at black-owned businesses. Unless black people devote more attention to building wealth within the black community… they will always be behind.”
Through this call to action I am encouraging every person reading this to take some of your spending power and share it with the small and black owned businesses in your community.
I know that for some money is tight. I also know that no matter what our financial circumstances, we find some way to get the things we need, as well as some of the things we want. We spend at fast food chains and big corporate businesses when we could be putting that money back into our communities. I’m not saying everyone should completely stop spending with national companies. Let’s all just start to make a conscience effort to spend more often with small and black owned businesses.
Aside from employing those in the neighborhood, small and black owned businesses often do things for the local community that benefit residents such as scholarships, community fundraising, and more. Check out www.sba.gov for a list of small businesses and www.blackownedbiz.com for black owned businesses in your community. Or check out Memphis’ own Tami Sawyer’s Our Power Box – providing an extensive directory cataloging black owned businesses across the globe, POWER BOX includes interviews with black entrepreneurs and professionals, product reviews, shopping guides and more features to spotlight black businesses.
This week before you venture out into shopping carnival known as Black Friday, check out these sites and decide if you can keep some of your dollars in your local community. Who knows? That dollar you spend in the neighborhood could inspire the next generation.
Rob Love is a stand-up comic and a stand-up guy.