CHICAGO (CBS) – What a difference a year makes.
Gone are the days of rushing through the doors of a big box store on Black Friday. But many people are shopping online or plan to support small businesses.
At a time when so many stores are struggling or shuttered, owners said your dollars mean even more. That especially rings true for Black businesses.
CBS 2’s Marie Saavedra reports from Hyde Park with more on a city effort called Black Shop Friday.
It was the city of Chicago’s way of drawing dollars to small Black owned businesses in every neighborhood. And in a year when in person shoppers can be hard to come by, any added publicity is appreciated.
In the kitchen of Flippin Flavors, a Beverly Restaurant about a year and a half old, it would have been nice if owner Brian Flippin had a crystal ball.
“It was an investment to get to where we are now,” Flippin laughed.
Nothing is normal about business right now so Flippin’s focused on attracting new customers wherever he can.
“It’s all about providing a good product to whoever walks through that door,” Flippen said.
He hopes to draw more by being a part of Black Shop Friday, the city of Chicago’s effort to get customers to spend at Black owned businesses. Another store on the expansive list? The Silver Room in Hyde Park. Owner Eric Williams is seeing a difference.
“White, Black, everyone’s trying to support,” Williams said. “They understand the importance of supporting small businesses, especially small Black owned businesses.”
Numbers show it’s needed. A recent study from the Stanford Institute of Economic Policy showed 41% of Black business owners shuttered in the first half of this pandemic, compared to 17% of white business owners.
So how do you stay open? You try and stand out. At the Silver Room that means expanding its service.
“We’ve seen people going online shopping, we offer same day free delivery, locally,” Williams said. “So that’s been our biggest thing right now.”
Flippin’s Flavors biggest thing is to keep its doors open, its employees paid and customers satisfied with every sandwich.
“Keep the faith, keep pushing forward,” Flippin said. “Because there are people you can provide a service for.”
For some stores, this holiday shopping season really could determine whether their business survives into next year. So there’s a lot riding on where we choose to spend.
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