Dear Black Businesses, I’ve Had It Up To Here

Shannon Vaughn
4 min readSep 2, 2019
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The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports about 20% of small businesses (businesses with 500 or fewer employees) fail within their first year. That percentage increases to 50% by the fifth year.

Black business owners have their own set of unique challenges to deal with. So it’s imperative from Day 0, from top to bottom everything is air tight, to not only survive but flourish.

I don’t think of supporting black businesses as a chore; too much. To a degree I do feel a level of obligation to support my own. For the most part, its when I can. Admittedly, this is not often.

One reason is due to the lack of small black businesses in my area who provide the services I need. The main reason is the disappointment I’ve encountered when I have patronized black businesses.

The thought and feeling of, I knew I shouldn’t have solicited them is the worst. In the end I don’t know if I’m more upset at the experience or not listening to my first mind in not supporting to begin with.

I’m all for supporting our own. It is vital for our communities. And I’m not implying that ALL black businesses are bad. What I am implying is that, there are a lot that need to tighten up.

Here’s some takes and experiences of my own regarding black businesses:

#1 Loyalty

I don’t owe you my support because we’re both black. Money is money. And it can get spent anywhere and with anyone. As a consumer I have the power to designate where my money goes. I spend my money with establishments who provide good consistent service. Businesses that are hit or miss are to be avoided in my book.

Period.

#2 Husband and Wife Entrepreneurs

Several years ago, a few new black owned businesses opened near my home. Two of them were husband and wife owned. One was a sandwich shop, the other a burger joint. They both made great tasting food respectfully. However, the more I frequented each business, the more I noticed a pattern.

In the sandwich shop the husband worked behind the counter while the wife was mainly behind the scenes. Some times she would sit at a table in the dining area, where I never heard or saw her greet a…

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