CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The second year of Eat Black Charlotte was a success.
That’s according to several Black-owned businesses that participated in the weeklong event celebrating eateries in the Charlotte area.
This success is welcome news to Black-owned businesses that have fared worst during the pandemic.
According to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Black Chamber of Commerce, around 50% of its members were 30 to 60 days away from closing in 2020.
With intentional intervention, they say more than 95% percent of those businesses are still open this year.
Events like Eat Black Charlotte, in addition to local monetary help, keep Black-owned businesses open.
Chef Dallas Green owns and operates the popular food truck “Made from Scratch.”
He’s one of a dozen Black-owned businesses participating in this year’s Eat Black Charlotte Week.
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"I feel like Eat Black Charlotte definitely drives traffic to new businesses to new people that's in the area, or to people who've been in the area that may have forgotten that we are around because there are so many businesses people want to support," Green said.
The food truck saw an increase of new and old customers of about 35% to 45% due to the event, according to Green.
The most popular item on the menu at Made from Scratch is a Lobster Mac and Cheese adorned with a fresh deep-fried whole lobster tail.
The purpose of Eat Black Charlotte is to sustain and support Black-owned businesses.
“Whatever your sweet spot is, or what is your gift, you can use that gift to change your community and help others around you," said Erique Berry, Eat Black Charlotte's co-founder.
The Charlotte Mecklenburg Black Chamber of Commerce said businesses are anticipating a possible recession.
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"By definition, a recession is three negative quarters of growth," Shanté Williams, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Black Chamber of Commerce Chairwoman and President, said. "But you can't tell that to someone who's experienced, you know, increasing prices, who is seeing maybe sales growing, but they are also seeing costs growing at a disproportionate rate."
Williams advises businesses to become capital efficient.
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"That might mean have more than one supplier, probably have two or three or four suppliers, maybe come a little more closer to home," Williams said.
The price of operating a business is rising by the month.
Inflation increased in May according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overall prices rose 8.6% from a year ago, which is the fastest increase since December 1981.
Food, shelter, and gasoline are attributed to much of this rise.
"We are paying about double, and certain items of what we used to pay last year," Green said. "For example, our containers used to be about $30. Now we're paying about $80.
Business owners say your support can mean the difference between survival and shutdown.