January 1, 2009

Use Black Owned, Black Operated Businesses

Happy New Year! This is that time of year when all of us resolve to do better. We want to do better for ourselves ... for our family ... for our community ... for our nation. One way that Africans in America can do better is to be more conscious of how we spend out disposable income. We need to 'Buy Black' whenever possible.

We shared information on The Anderson Family and their unique experiment to 'Buy Black'. Could you make the same pledge that this family made for the new year?

Some of you tell me that you cannot locate Black-owned and Black-operated businesses. Symphony was kind enough to point us to USEBOBO.com. It is a remarkable website that provides an expanding directory of Black-owned and Black-operated businesses all around the nation.

Check it out and let us know what you think about it.


Esquire said...

This is an admiral goal. I will definitely give this a try for the new year.

All-Mi-T [Thought Crime] Rawdawgbuffalo said...

you put a smile on the face of this sm bus. owner

Unknown said...

Esquire & RawDawg - We need to get serious about improving the economy in our households ... and in our community. This 'Buy Black' idea can work if we simply work it ourselves ... one purchase at a time!

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Hello there Villager,

I believe that we should support black businesses but I also think that black businesses should not rely on racial loyalty for a consumer base. I see that happening with many black businesses.

For example, I get my hair styled at a salon owned by Hispanics, who charge less for the same service and provide a more professional environment and a hair care line that is fantastic. I used to get my hair styled at a salon owned by black women.

In this black-owned salon, there was constantly disorganization with scheduling and a service that should take two hours would take six hours.

In this black-owned salon, mothers would bring their children (who were not being serviced) and proceed to yell, scream and discipline them...adding to a very loud atmosphere that the stylists seemed to take in stride.

In this black-owned salon, most of the stylists could not speak grammatically-correct English and didn't feel it was important for customer service to do so. They would permit customers to use profanity in conversations within ear-shot of others.

In this black-owned salon, there were numerous examples of shoddy decor...bathrooms that were not designed well...poor paint job...wall paper that looked like a crack head put it up one-handed...

The stylists often dressed inappropriately...showing their entire behinds... which led to men standing outside of the windows of the salon.

I won't even mention that some of these places do not call the police when people are loitering outside of their establishment. Do they really think that customers want to pass a gauntlet of cattle calls and zombie-like persons asking for a fifty cents?

Ask any black woman and she will tell you that what I am describing is HARDLY a rare occurence.

If black business owners want MY money in their business, then I will expect competitive prices, a clean, professional-looking interior and an organized business operation with FRIENDLY staff and a safe environment to park and to transact business...as a MINIMUM.

Unfortunately...that seems to be rare with most of the black-owned businesses I've encountered in the last two decades.

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!

Unknown said...

All - I don't doubt Lisa's experience ... nor do I begrudge her the right to spend money with the Hispanic business instead of the Black business.

I would share the following observation on the impact on Black businesses since desegregation and the ability of Black consumers to spend with White or Hispanic businesses -- A couple of things occurred as a result of this mass exodus from the Black business community. The one's who left gave the impression that the grass was indeed greener on the other side. They claimed the stores were cleaner, there was more selection, and prices were better than in the Black businesses. As the allegations grew, a dislike for Black business also grew. Suddenly the Black businesses were viewed as "trying to do business" and not really as accomplished business men and women. Black business folk in return, developed a hatred for the Black consumer. The Black consumers' treacherous acts were neither forgiven nor forgotten. Worst of all, both sides taught their virulent and insensitive views to their children. Today, we see some of those children [now empty nesters] as consumers, still skeptically thumbing through the various Black business directories, and as business owners, refusing to specifically market to Black consumers. All of them loving the concept of community empowerment through economics, but never trusting anyone enough to ever achieve it.

Now that this particular problem has been stated, what will YOU do to solve it? What will YOU teach your children through your actions? Will you remove the "spoils" from the camp so that the community will be blessed?

wisdomteachesme said...

happy new year to you villager and to your visitors!

while i have been in black businesses like lisa described and i don't chose to go back--i have also found that what she describes is alive in many other businesses not owned and operated by black people. i don't go back in those either.

i believe it is more of a class thing than a color thing. they have a hand full of money and one or two backers to help start the business but no 'business sense' so to speak.
so many people on this level of 'lacking business knowledge'- will treat their businesses like an extention of their lives at home. much like they do anywhere they go. it's about class with them-they cannot see what is wrong with what they are doing--and if you try and point it out--they turn on you. it's not just black people though.

There are a lot of people of all colors that have a lack of work ethics-and a decent amount of good business sense. these people cover every age, skin tone, education level, gender, and skill level.

it is a lack of pride in doing a Great job verses a good job.
I grew up watching both kinds of people frist hand and they were both black and white business owners.

when someone would do my grandfather wrong-he would not loud talk them or try to publically stop others from going to them--if he could not come to terms with them over the disagreement--he would quietly take his business else where. pretty soon when you keep doing bad work your business will suffer and fold in on itself.

While i grew up following behind my grandfather who created the first and only black business and professional chain org. in this little town. this group included about 6 black men and himself. they bought a mini strip mall and filled it with businesses and also a dentist for the people.

there is much that he did for this community and he always said, i am trying to help not just the black people but also the non black people. this b&p chain org. still exist today as many of the children of the founders took over their parents or grandparents seats through inheritances.

i fully understand what you speak about villager, growing up i have witnessed many vibrant and thriving black businesses that offered great customer service and conversation.
my grandmother's father had a general store and he was a minister his whole adult life. and i can remember all the stories she told me about how he would help people with credit during the depression and any other hard times that came around. How they always had because he would store 'extras' up in the attic of the store for his family and church members. she was 94 when she died in 2005.

i would hear my grandfather-who also was a minister and an educator- advise black business owners about many topics - one was they needed to lower their prices a few pennies to bring in the customers and then to gradualy raise them. he felt that you will reap the reward of having your own business but not all at once.
he beleived that everyone should 'get some' there was no need to be greedy. my grandfathers father/family were farmers that did very well in this area.

lol, i remember my grandmother telling me about how my grandfathers people owned the farming equipment and had at least 3 cars at any one time. that was a really big deal for that time. the way she would say it i knew they were shrewd business people
my grandfather was born in 1908 or 1909-he died in the 1990.

as you said, many blacks would believe the lie that black was bad and the same item or sevice down the street in the white owned stores where better.

same products, same prices.
no difference other than how the customer saw themselves.
a lot like today.

good topic villager. i'm sorry for such a long comment post--the topic brought back memories i had not thought of in a long time.

Unknown said...

WisdomTeachesMe - Wow ... this post truly did bring out a lot of memories for you. I am grateful that you took the time to share the information about your grandfather. He appears to have been quite a remarkable man and community leader.

I hope that you are inspired to talk about the importance of 'cooperative economics (Ujamaa)' on your blog or elsewhere.

Is someone in your family keeping track of your family history (genealogy)?

Big Mama said...

Somethng I started doing years and years ago that you taught me, Villager...subscribing to a Black owned newspaper if our twon has one. Somethiong else I have done for years is to used only Black Heritage stamps. It used to be that often the local post office branch would not have them so I started getting mine online at
I charge them to my credit card and USPS usually has them here within three days of my making the online order. Whether you order 10, 50, 500 hundred stamps, shipping cost is only a dollar.

Unknown said...

Iya - I forgot that I shared that advice back in the day. It is still good advice today. Oddly, I bought stamps from US Post Office the other day. I asked for afrocentric stamps and they didn't have any. I didn't think to purchase them directly from www.usps.gov. I'll remember next time....