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Holiday season perfect time to support WI black business owners

The U.S. saw an increase in Black-owned businesses between 2017 and 2019, but their supporters worry the pandemic may have derailed that progress.
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The holiday shopping season is here, and people are being reminded about the importance of supporting Black-owned businesses, in Wisconsin and elsewhere.

A recent Global State of Small Business Report, issued by social media company Meta, notes the closure rate for minority-led small firms was 7% higher than other operations. And more than half led by Black owners reported lower sales than the previous year.

Trinity Rush, assistant event coordinator with the Wisconsin Black Chamber of Commerce, said there's still an uneven recovery from the pandemic. She said by helping these businesses, they can have stronger communities and inspire others to follow suit.

"When you talk to people, [or] you do business with people as the same background as you," said Rush, "you can have that moment to educate them in the way that can relate, that you can more get in tune with them."

Rush has her own business called Trin-setter, which sells beanies and hats designed to protect a person's hairstyle.

She said her product has cultural significance for the Black community, although it's useful for other customers as well.

Since the racial reckoning, there are calls for consumers and larger companies to be more inclusive in retail and other forms of business.

Rush said stronger support for Black-owned businesses, especially those still struggling, coincides with any progress in making their communities more vibrant, such as better access to health coverage.

She said she hopes shoppers keep this in mind when they're planning their purchases.

"Now would be a time to come back and support them and help them," said Rush, "you know, get back up and running and just, you know, feed their dreams."

Just 2.5% of businesses in the U.S. are Black-owned, even though nearly 13% of the country's population is Black.

Mike Moen is a radio news reporter with nearly two decades of experience in the field. He has covered much of the upper Midwest, including Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin and the Dakotas. Many of his stories have aired nationally, including several public radio programs.
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