While today’s wealth inequality may be linked to the Jim Crow era, supporting black-owned businesses can shake the needle. Small business owners create wealth for their families and strengthen local economies. Forty-eight percent of purchases made from small businesses flow through the local community, compared to 14% of purchases made from chain stores, the data showed.
“It impacts equity, it helps jobs, it helps feed families,” Destinee explained. “When you support these small businesses, you’re putting money right in someone’s pocket rather than a big box store.”
Business owner Treatrous Jackson echoed Destinee’s sentiments, saying, “There are people who want to sponsor black businesses and run their black dollars into black communities, but they don’t have this opportunity. People of other nationalities are not fortunate enough to have a place to go to find these companies so that they can contribute to diversity. “
Treatrous, known locally as “Treat,” met Destinee at the Black Business Expo in Charlottesville. Treat owns a small business called The Tax Ladies with its business partner, Libby Edwards-Allbaugh. Their tax company has thrived in Charlottesville for the past 10 years and is listed in the Charlottesville Black Business Directory.
The Tax Ladies have worked throughout the past year to help businesses weather the pandemic by helping businesses find resources and apply for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.
As a member of the Chamber Minority Business Alliance, Treat believes the directory is essential. “A directory highlighting black-owned businesses is important because a lot of people don’t know that there are so many professional businesses operating in Charlottesville,” she said.
Small businesses often don’t have the capital or resources to promote their business in the same way that a nationally recognized brand does. Additionally, consumer traffic is highly dependent on the location of the business. Very attractive locations come with higher price tags.
“When you visit the downtown mall, you won’t find many black businesses there. The truth is, it is very expensive to have a physical location. Plus, there are systemic issues that affect how black people are able to secure some of these brick and mortar locations, ”Destinee explained.
As a business owner, Destinee understands the importance of visibility for entrepreneurs. “Much attention is not paid to these extraordinary companies and it is a shame because they absolutely deserve this recognition.”
Destinee’s first business was a mobile hairstyling business that quickly grew through word of mouth. Some of the directory entries are also former Destinee customers.
Destinee recalls, “That’s how I started to plug into Charlottesville, meet all these amazing black women, and meet other entrepreneurs in the area.”
Outside the repertoire, Destinee is known for its volunteerism and its influence. Last summer, Northshea, a local skin care company, saw its warehouse vandalized and more than 2,000 pounds of product was stolen. Destinee helped set up a GoFundMe to offset the massive financial losses suffered by Northshea.
She is also the owner of Destinee Marketing, a social media marketing company that helps content creators, small businesses, nonprofits, and local organizations promote their brands on digital media.
Destinee credits her father and uncle for her entrepreneurial spirit. “My father was a small business owner and I had an uncle who was a small business owner. I think maybe this is where I got the idea that you can make things work on your own.
Currently, the directory has more than 200 companies listed and has received more than three thousand visits to the site. Destinee hopes to add more businesses in the coming months and provide resources for future small business owners.
Visitors can find the directory online at https://cvilleblackbiz.com/.