Black-owned businesses thrive post-pandemic

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Being a business owner can be challenging, but it can bring satisfaction and joy. However, during the pandemic, there was a lot of uncertainty with businesses, especially black-owned ones.

“I originally started it back in 2017 after losing my little brother to gun violence. I was sitting at home after we buried him and just trying to figure out how I can make this into a positive. So, I put my mind together, I came up with the name and I’ve been running with that name ever since.”

Timothy McCray, the owner of my Brother’s Keeper Clothing, is among more than one-million black-owned businesses across America. That number continues to grow, but during the pandemic, many businesses were forced to shut down, with maybe half of them gaining the chance to reopen.

“I would say that it started out slow at first because of the pandemic. Nobody wanted to come around, even if you had stuff if you didn’t have a website, which I didn’t at the time, nobody wanted to meet with you to do any hand-in-hand exchanges or anything like that. So it kind of made it hard,” McCray mentioned.

There were several times throughout the pandemic when McCray contemplated the thought of closing his business for good.

“I couldn’t allow myself to do that because this is something that I hold dear to heart, and I felt like if I gave up, I would be giving up on myself. I would be giving up on my brother, and I would be giving up on everyone else who I’m trying to reach with my clothing line.”

According to U.S.News, the number of black small-business owners was 28% higher in the third quarter of 2021 than it was pre-pandemic.

As the light started to shine brighter on black-owned businesses, so does the motivation and drive to keep going.

“Partnering with these organizations around town in the Northland, they pass this knowledge. The knowledge that we would have had to research our sales. Everybody doesn’t learn by reading books, and some people are visual. They have to see it to learn it or experience it to learn it, and I feel like now I have more information. I have more information than I know what to do with their information, and my goals and my ambitions have gotten wider and bigger,” McCray shared.

There is an annual black business showcases that happen in February and continues to provide a platform for black-owned business in the Northland.