‘Buying Black’ During the Holidays Is a Community Investment

Mashaun D. Simon, NBC News, November 25, 2017

As consumers invest hours and hours of searching for the best deals on holiday gifts for their loved ones, black business owners are asking consumers to invest that same time and money with them.

‘Buying black,’ said black business owners, is an investment not just for the businesses, but the entire black community.

“Black business owners have their ear to the street. They pour into the communities in which they reside,” Eldredge E. Washington, co-founder of Spendefy, told NBC News. “They play a role in building the communities in which they reside. By supporting them the way we do, we help to empower them.”

Washington and his friend Antwon Davis, created Spendefy two years ago to help small black businesses achieve success by providing them with resources needed to be successful.

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“Nationwide there are more than 2.6 million black-owned businesses,” Davis told NBC News. “But eight out of 10 fail within the first year and a half because of a lack of exposure, a lack of capital, and a lack of business acumen.”

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“Consumers seek products and services regularly, but these businesses do not have the bandwidth or the time available to figure out how to compete as technology changes every single day,” he said.

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For Eric Patrick, CEO and founder of Black Market Exchange, ‘Buying Black’ is a statement but more than just a mantra within the black community.

“Money can last longer within our community,” he told NBC News via email. “Which then can be used for further progression not only of businesses, but income in households to use towards higher education and skills training.”

Through Black Market Exchange, Patrick attempts to educate people of color, especially millennials, on best practices of investing. Because most black businesses are not publicly traded companies, he said the best means of supporting them is by being consumers.

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When supporting black businesses, Davis and Washington suggest that consumers should research the business’s socially conscious practices.

“We have seen some who are focused on hiring those who have been incarcerated, or focused on creating opportunities for youth in urban communities,” Davis said. “There are all of these smaller businesses doing more than providing quality services and products. They are doing good and representing a level of social responsibility in our community.”

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However, Washington said, consumers should not limit their support of black businesses to just the holiday season and ‘”Buying Black’ should be something you do 365 days of the year.’”

“If we want to see change in our community, you have to make an effort, go out of our way, and find these businesses,” he said, adding that consumers will discover some of the “dopest businesses in America.”

Patrick challenges customers to patronize at least one black business a month for a year.

“And see how it changes your outlook on black-owned businesses as well as fosters new relationships,” he said. {snip}

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