Over the last few days, social media has been flooded with lists of black-owned businesses to support as people look for ways to effect change.
It’s a movement seen in the West End Saturday as supporters lined the block to grab lunch at BurgerIM.
“Black, white, hispanic... I mean it was one good feeling, you know?” said Owner Wes Williams.
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William said that turnout was initially in response to the damage he sustained in Friday night’s riots.
But with a cry of “support black-owned” from the crowd, it was also part of a nationwide push to spend money at black-owned businesses. It’s a simple way many have begun to address the injustice being protested in the streets.
“You know, for a lot of black-owned businesses, this is our first attempt in the entrepreneur world. And given the circumstances historically and culturally, a lot of us haven’t had the luxury to have certain avenues and doors open for us,” said Williams.
For many, that includes the financial backing to get a business started on a solid foot.
For Val’s Cheesecake owner Valery Jean-Bart, his barrier was the fear that promoting his bakery as a black-owned business would deter a diverse clientele.
“I feared that if I put a cheesecake business out [with my picture], there’s a mentality that ok, it must be soul food cheesecake,” said Jean-Bart.
That was in 2015.
Today, he was a loyal following and multiple locations across DFW.
Still, like Williams, he’s noticed an uptick in sales and new customers over the last few days, which he said is appreciated but overdue.
“I think it’s a good thing to support it, but it shouldn’t be just now. It should always be supportive of any business that puts a good product out. That’s what you should do,” said Jean-Bart.
Still, it’s leverage he said he’ll use to grow. He hopes the nation can do the same.
As Val’s Cheesecakes welcomes new customers, they’re also collecting donations for those who will march through Dallas’ streets this weekend.
They’re currently accepting unopened masks, sanitizer and bottled water at all locations.