DES MOINES, Iowa — There are more than 250,000 small businesses in the state, according to a 2018 Iowa Small Business Profile report. Less than 15,000 of those are made up of businesses owned by minorities. A Des Moines woman is making it her mission to make sure the businesses owned by African-Americans are thriving.
“Black Friday, every Friday! Why not shop black every single week instead of after Thanksgiving to get the sale? Go and broaden your cultural pallet right now,” says Abena Imhotep, a community philanthropist.
Imhotep says “Black Friday” is a call for all Iowans, not just black Iowans, to shop local and to shop black, as often as possible. The reason? A report released by the NAACP claims one dollar circulates in the black community for only six hours compared to the same dollar lasting 17 days in the majority population, although some researchers speculate that finding.
“We have this city. It’s bursting with life. It’s bursting with community. Lets tap into that,” she says.
The Iowa Accountability Program is helping consumers with that. It released the Greater Iowa African American Resource Guide last year, detailing hundreds of black-owned businesses in the state.
Susan Wolder-Williams, a black business owner, says the effort to have more people shopping at minority-owned establishments allows the community to be more united rather than divided. It is an issue she says often happens within the black community.
“It’s important because we are here doing what we love to do. Just like in the Hispanic community, they all rally around and support one another. They go to each others stores. In the black community we don’t,” she says. “We have to stop saying we are in competition with other people that do that same thing because we’re not.”
The idea of “Black Friday” excites Wolder-Williams, who owns Suzie’s Sweet Treats and Catering, an online bakery. She says there is power in supportive numbers.
“We need to start sharing the love instead of hoarding. If we come together we could be a wrecking force.”
The Greater Iowa African American Resource Guide only collects data given to them by businesses. Imhotep says she is working on making a more complete list of black-owned business. That should be completed later this month. To submit your business to her list, email Abena at email@example.com