COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The City of Columbus is asking residents on Thursday to support small businesses owned and operated by African Americans and other minorities.
It’s called “Buy Black Thursday.” They’re asking people in central Ohio to patronize black businesses to show a little love to a section of the small business community that’s been hit hardest during this pandemic.
Council President Shannon Hardin says it’s imperative for locals to support black and minority-owned businesses during this time to prevent future layoffs and closures. One local flower shop owner in Columbus says life right now is uncertain.
“It’s been tight over the last several months,” said Lashawnda Battiste Sellers, the co-owner of Battiseta LaFleur Glleria.
Sellers added they’ve been hit hard like many other small businesses because of this pandemic with churches no longer in service and many weddings canceled. She said they even had to tell six of their employees to go home for awhile leaving them with three workers.
She applied for the Paycheck Protection Program, hoping to get some assistance but the money ran out quickly.
“They were no longer accepting applications and all those that had applied just to kind of stand still and figure this out,” Sellers said.
“One of the things that we have seen is that black-owned businesses have had a harder time at getting access to the capital even through the PPP,” Council President Hardin said.
Hardin says many black-owned business who didn’t have long standing relationships with banks were last in line for the money, which is the reason the city is supporting Buy Black Thursday. Sellers is doing curbside deliveries to keep people safe and she’s determined to do what she can to keep this shop running, which her grandmother opened in South Carolina in the 1940s.
“At the heart of time where it was stated that women, in particular black women, could not own their own business,” Sellers said. “Our grandparents, grandmother in particular, said ‘No I want to own my own flower shop.'”
So, Sellers welcomes Buy Black Thursday because all businesses are in this together.
“We think about what would grandma do? She would say push forward,” she said. “You’re going to lose sleep, but that’s okay. Make sure you take care of the customer first.”