Black-owned business owners pleased with support during COVID-19 pandemic

Black-owned business owners share their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - August is National Black-Owned Business Month and according to the U.S Census, there are more than two million Black-owned businesses in the U.S.

“We sell a little bit of everything we have a little soul food, a little Americanized food on the menu,” said Marlon Johnston, chef and owner of Crown’s Kitchen.

Not to mention their world-famous collard greens of which they sell nearly 300 bowls a day.

“I let you try them of course. Everybody that comes in here I make sure they try the collard greens. Everybody that walk through that door,” Johnston said.

He says more people have been coming into his restaurant lately and he believes it could be because of the global protests related to Black Lives Matter.

“Sales been up for me around 50, 60, 70%...God’s been good to Crown’s Kitchen. Yes, he has,” Johnston said.

“It’s good. It’s good food. He’s a good guy, so I’m here,” Donshey Graham said.

Other Black business owners say they’re seeing an increase as well.

“It’s picking back up as we go,” said Isaiah Metcalf, owner and barber at In The Cutt Barbershop.

Metcalf has been self-employed for 28 years and says it’s heartwarming to have so many customers come through.

“We all need the support especially during this pandemic right now. We need to support each other and help each other as much as we can as far as getting us all back together for the black people,” Metcalf said.

“I think that we’re kind of like that forgotten group. A lot of people talk about it but they don’t follow up with the support we need. We don’t have the capital we need we don’t always get the advertising and the marketing, so we’re here and we’re struggling and we’re trying,” said Crystal Render, owner of Crystal Marie’s Devine Designs.

Render just received $10,000 from Pantene after applying for a special grant aimed at supporting minority women who own a beauty business.

“It really gives us the chance to get our name out there, our business out there and the support we need. So it’s an astronomical blessing and I’m so grateful to be one of those winners,” Render said.

Johnston says he wants to inspire the younger generation so there can be more Black-owner businesses in the Tri-State.

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