CHICAGO, Ill. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – First the pandemic, an intense election, then rioting and looting. It’s no doubt that many small businesses are still struggling to recover right now. Here’s how you can help.
Felicia Goodwin is a former nurse turned business owner. Nine years ago, she opened a boutique clothing store with her daughter Zimah. “Mom put everything into the store,” said Zimah Goodwin, Co-Owner of Z Couture. Then, riots and looting coming out of the George Floyd protests demolished everything overnight. “She was really, really, really, really upset cause all her hard work was just like ...” “Ruined, destroyed, torn apart,” added Felicia Goodwin, Co-Owner of Z Couture.
“The Black community were being vandalized and a lot of them didn’t have the resources that was needed in order to come back,” said Candice Payne, a Real Estate Entrepreneur. That’s why Candice teamed up with Arsiak Vartenian to get these businesses back on their feet. “A lot of times people look at business owners as being wealthy and that’s not always true,” said Payne.
By using social media, the duo has raised thousands of dollars for small businesses to come back stronger. “A lot of what we saw with the looting and rioting has been a result of a lack of investment in certain communities,” said Arsiak Vartenian, Host of Smart Is the New Sexy. Consumers can invest in their communities by shopping local, donating to relief funds and if you can’t donate, share the business’ story. “Social media is such a powerful tool,” added Vartenian.
Felicia’s and Zimah’s store Z Couture was one of the several businesses that benefited from Arsiak’s and Candice’s efforts. And now they are back in business. “It was a lot of work. It was almost like rebuilding,” said Felicia.
One hundred thousand small businesses were forced to close permanently due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the number of working Black small business owners dropped 40 percent—more than any other demographic.
Contributor(s) to this news report include: Milvionne Chery, Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.