MILWAUKEE, Wisc. (SPECTRUM NEWS) — It’s the fourth day of Blackout Week, a week promoting and supporting Black-owned businesses. In Milwaukee’s Bronzeville neighborhood, the initiative is resulting in a positive impact for businesses.
“People are being really intentional about stopping through and supporting so we’re really grateful for that,” says Lilo Allen who has noticed traffic increase in her shop during the week.
Customers are showing up to buy local and support minority business owners, hoping to help them thrive.
“We’re community and we need to support local-based Milwaukee businesses; particularly in this time of needing better social justice, it’s especially important to support black as well as other people of color who have businesses here,” says Jeff Perzan.
The Blackout Week initiative is especially helpful to businesses that are recovering from financial loss due to COVID-19.
“We had to pivot and open up a website…the website did great but there’s nothing like foot traffic and people coming in for the first time,” says Allen.
The owner and other barbers at Milwaukee’s Gee’s Clippers need and appreciate that support, they re-opened in June after being closed for quarantine.
“Quarantine has really put a hamper on a lot of African American businesses. A lot of small businesses period really took a hit. So right now it’s imperative we do everything we can to support those Black-owned businesses,” says owner Gaulien Smith.
Contributing to Blackout Week makes an impact beyond the seven days of the event.
“The black dollar only rotates in the black community one time and that’s not good, I think to empower our community and to strengthen our community there’s a need for us to support one another,” says Smith.
According to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, this effort also benefits the state and national economy.
“In order to have a thriving economy all parts of the economy have a piece in the puzzle,” says Melissa Hughes of WEDC.
Continued support for Black-owned businesses is another way of helping minorities achieve social justice.
“You know after this week you continue supporting these businesses and you continue to look and say, ‘What kind of a future do I want to vote on with my dollars?’” says Hughes.