Black-owned companies in B’ham see recent uptick in business

Black owned businesses seeing a rise in sales

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Many are looking for ways to take action following the death of George Floyd and local black-owned businesses say they are seeing an uptick in sales as people visit stores to show support and solidarity with the black community.

“You have organizations and corporations more involved in their diversity and inclusion teams in the company,” said Jennifer Anthony with the Birmingham Black Business Directory.

The Birmingham Black Business Directory works to collect a database of black owned companies in the community. Leaders say the shift in dollars into the black community is from Corporate America down to general consumer shopping habits.

Following Floyd’s death, major companies like Yum! Brands, which owns KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and other fast food restaurants, pledged $3 million to organizations like the NAACP legal fund.

And local businesses in the Birmingham area are also noticing a similar trend.

JaWanda Jackson owns JaWanda’s Sweet Potato Pies in the Birmingham area and has cooked up desserts for over 10 years.

“We put a lot of love in our products. We pray over our products. We want people to sense the presence of God as they’re eating their desserts,” said Jackson.

Jackson says immediately following Floyd’s death she saw an increase in her retail business by 10 percent from clients of all backgrounds.

“We have seen the customers intentionally come,” said Jackson, "We believe that there is a lot of love. Not only for us to give, but for our customers to give to us, so we’re grateful."

And across town in Birmingham’s Historic District, customers browse racks filled with African print clothing at Ferrill African Wear.

“It’s hard to tell if people are buying because they want something cultural or if they’re buying from a black business. I think it’s a little bit of both,” said Shirley Ferrill, owner of Ferrill African Wear

The owner of Ferrill African Wear says she’s seen new customers come into her shop after Floyd’s death. Some looking for items to wear to demonstrations in his honor. She says grateful people are looking to support the community.

“I’m appreciative of the support. I’m appreciative of the people who are protesting and people who are supporting us in various other ways,” said Ferrill.

Owners say they’ve also tried to calculate how many people might come out now that COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted, but still say they have many customers coming in now as a show of support.

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