Businesses across the board will be struggling this holiday season, with slumping sales due to the pandemic. While we must keep in mind the importance of spending locally, it is equally important to support the small businesses that are considered the backbone of our community. As if it could get any worse for entrepreneurs, it is reported that black-owned businesses have been getting hit especially hard. That’s why The City of Buffalo and AT&T have come up with a rallying campaign, to encourage people to support a demographic that could really use the help.
“My Administration continues its commitment to helping those who need it most during these difficult times, and that includes our Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs,” said Mayor Brown. “Our Black-owned businesses play an important role in our City’s economic success and we recognize that many of them have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Buy Black Buffalo Week will build on my other initiatives to assist Black business owners, and further prepare them for increased online shoppers this holiday season, while showcasing some of the region’s unique goods and services.”
The eight day event, called Buy Black Buffalo Week, is being coordinated by the Beverly Gray Business Exchange Center. Not only will black-owned businesses be provided marketing packages, they will also be encouraged to attend a virtual Holiday Season Seminar, made possible with support from M&T Bank.
More than ever, these businesses need help from the community. As the country faces racial divide, internet shopping is becoming more and more popular, big box stores are dominating, and now the pandemic… being a small business owner is tough enough. Then we take a look at the economic figures in black communities, and see that it’s even tougher.
“Past studies show that the dollar circulates zero to one time within the black community, compared to the more than 6-9 times the dollar circulates within other demographics,” said Shantelle Patton, owner of That Brown Bag Minority Business Directory – a resource where shoppers can access a comprehensive database of businesses online. “In order for our community to see a shift in this financial circulatory system, we must start with an outpour of support for ourselves. Supporting a Black Owned Business is supporting your neighbor’s dreams. We are stronger together than apart and with the Buy Black initiative, all those involved will get to play an integral part of the spark that changes that narrative in the community in which we live from surviving to thriving.”
The initiative has also launched a Buy Black Buffalo Week Art Challenge, hosted by Ms. Eye Candy Boutique and Get Fokus’d Productions. The challenge invites students in grades 8-12, to create works of art themed “Stronger Together,” sponsored by National Grid.
“National Grid is a company that celebrates our full diversity of talent and being inclusive, which takes everyone from all backgrounds to work together and make sure that we get the best out of each other,” said National Grid Regional Director Ken Kujawa. “We have long worked closely with Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown on a variety of initiatives and appreciate this new opportunity to support the Buy Black Buffalo Week poster contest and – through funding that we are providing – are setting the foundation to encourage participating retailers to become members of Buffalo Niagara Partnership. We also encourage the support of Black-owned businesses beyond the week of Dec. 4. That’s because so many small businesses play a vital role as strengthening the economies in the communities where we live and work.”
Buffalo is now one of several innovative cities across the U.S. offering a weeklong event to celebrate and support black-owned businesses.
It’s important to remember that we’re not just talking about supporting retail shops during the holiday season. Keep in mind that there are also professional services, restaurants, cultural spaces, etc. Many of these businesses will be offering specials and discounts in order to capitalize on holiday spending trends.
It’s time to come together as a city, to step up during a time when small businesses could use our collective support. There are so many ways that we can all be helping, whether it’s an individual purchasing a meal, or a corporation lending a hand with marketing strategies.
“AT&T is honored to support the inaugural Buy Black Buffalo Week as it aligns with our company’s longstanding commitment to working with and assisting black-owned and other diverse businesses to achieve economic success, while celebrating diversity and fostering inclusion in our community,” said Amy Kramer, New York President, AT&T. “As a company connecting people and businesses for more than 100 years, we are thrilled to help promote and showcase so many amazing locally owned businesses in the Queen City. I applaud the tireless organizers, the City of Buffalo, and Mayor Brown for their vision and hard work in establishing Buy Black Buffalo Week and I encourage everyone to take part and support these local businesses.”
- The virtual Holiday Season Seminar will be held on Tuesday, November 24 at 6pm
- Buy Black Buffalo Week is from December 4th to December 11th
Buy Black Buffalo Week is presented by the City of Buffalo and AT&T with support from M&T Bank, National Grid, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the Buffalo Urban League of Young Professionals, and Get Fokus’d Productions. Registration for Buy Black Buffalo Week is open now through November 28. Business owners who wish to participate can register online upon reviewing the eligibility requirements. A complete list of participating businesses will be available to view online by kickoff day on December 4. For more information about Buy Black Buffalo Week or the art challenge visit buyblackbuffalo.com.