ORLANDO, Fla. – When I think about what comes after this pandemic there is a small part of me that grieves when I think my favorite businesses may not make it. I wonder to myself, “Will the bakery near my church survive? Will I still be able to pick up quesitos and cafe con leche from my favorite shop?”
I also think about the future of the small businesses near my home. “Will the fun new breweries and restaurants make it through?” Then, I wonder if they don’t, what will it mean for my community?
Downtown Sanford was building a reputation as a fun hipster hot spot. If the local businesses go under, will my town lose its budding new identity?
There are so many unanswered questions. And, some of the statistics paint an uncomfortable picture.
As someone who has lived in Central Florida for 16 years, and a News 6 producer, I took some time to look at the data and found it paints an uncomfortable picture.
Research from the University of California at Santa Cruz shows hundreds of thousands of companies have already shut down for good. Business owners, employees and the communities they serve are all feeling the impact.
But some are losing their fight to stay afloat amid the ongoing pandemic at a much faster rate. By mid-April, 17% of white-owned businesses closed. During the same time period, 440,000 black-owned businesses -- 41% -- had gone under.
Black-owned businesses have seen an increase in sales surrounding the fight against racial injustice. According to MyBlackReceipt.com, consumers spent more than $7 million at black-owned businesses from Juneteenth through July 6, but black-owned businesses are still are up against some serious obstacles.
While some small businesses were using money from the Paycheck Protection Program to help make ends meet, an analysis by the Center for Responsible Lending found 95% of black-owned businesses were shut out.
And this isn’t the first major blow for black business owners. Black-owned businesses have historically been denied loans more often than any other racial group, according to Federal Reserve data. And when black business owners are approved for loans, they often are approved for less, according to the Minority Business Development Agency.
That's where National Black Business Month comes in. It is celebrated every August and is meant to acknowledge the economic impact black-owned businesses have on our country, acknowledge the challenges that are unique to black business owners, and support their growth and success.
At News 6, we will work to get results by highlighting some of the black-owned businesses in Central Florida and the impact they are making in the community.