Downtown Memphis Commission makes push to support black-owned businesses

Downtown Memphis Commission makes push to support black-owned businesses

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - There’s a push to support Mid-South black-owned businesses.

The Downtown Memphis Commission is encouraging everyone to support the livelihoods of local African American entrepreneurs.

The owners of Brinson’s Downtown and East Memphis Pizza & Subs say these past few months have been difficult due to the pandemic.

"It’s been a real struggle, we’re down to maybe about 20 percent,” said Eric Brinson, owner of Brinson’s Downtown.

"It's hard times, it's tough times, it's rough times,” adds Aaron Kearney, owner of East Memphis Pizza & Subs.

Both restaurant owners thank their community for sticking with them, even when they had to temporarily shut their doors.

"Seventeen years. If it wasn’t for the community I guarantee you the doors would be closed,” said Kearney.

As a way to help during a time of pandemic and protest, community members asked the Downtown Memphis Commission to create a list of black-owned businesses.

Brinson and Kearney say they appreciate the support.

“It’s crucial, it’s crucial. We really are last on the list when it comes to the financial support that is needed and we are at the top of the list in the urgency of it,” said Brinson.

Brinson also says the pandemic along with the protests happening are both a hit to black-owned business.

“We were looking forward to kind’ve rebounding, then when the tragic George Floyd incident took place and the protests it’s been a second round of, another hit.”

Kearney says he's proud of Memphis for staying peaceful and believes peace and unity will help the black community.

"We can overachieve all of this, and we are going to achieve all of this. We gonna come together and black people, we gon’ be okay.”

Both Brinson and Kearney believe as black business owners it’s an uphill battle, but they say community support and unity will get them through this.

To view the list of black-owned businesses Downtown Memphis Commission has complied, click here.

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