By Cheryl Smith
These are the times. Yes, these are the times! Former U.S. Trade Ambassador Ron Kirk once said that small businesses are the backbone of America. Unfortunately with the onset of coronavirus/COVID-19, small businesses have suffered tremendously. It’s important to note that most small businesses are owned by women.
So many businesses that are impacted negatively by COVID-19, are closing down, some never to open again. These businesses that usually operate with 1-10 employees, and some more, find their employees are now sitting at home without any income or opportunities.
While some owners are quickly adapting and taking to social media or other efforts to subsidize their incomes; others are shutting down permanently, which will cause a big blight in minority communities across America. What are the challenges that these entrepreneurs have and how will they overcome, if possible? What does the loss of small businesses, like mom and pop stores, in communities where there is a food desert mean?
Just think about the impoverished communities — those without adequate transportation are especially hit hard when they have to take buses and trains to get to a store. Then too, what about the disparity in costs for products? Because they have less inventory, the smaller convenience stores must charge more. I’ve been talking with corporate executives, elected officials from city, state, county and federal offices, Small Business Administration and chambers of commerce officials, as well as owners, about legislation and efforts to help small businesses.
Which brings me to my truth.
My father was an entrepreneur. I grew up realizing the importance of supporting Black businesses and have lived a life of reaching out and sharing my love with Black business owners. The Black communities have dealt with crises time and time again. I’ve often said that the most successful boycott in American history has been the boycott of Black-owned businesses by Black people! You see, over the years, I had heard so many excuses made by Black folks. “They have an attitude,” “service is slow,” “the prices are too high,” are just a few of the many excuses folks used to explain why they didn’t shop at certain Black-owned establishments.
For me, although I didn’t live during a time when I couldn’t shop at “other” stores, it seemed that Black owned stores were fine and dandy, just like other Black institutions; that is until the doors opened and access to others was provided. Then, Black-owned businesses were in a state of crisis. As we deal with this coronavirus crisis, it is imperative that we find ways to help one another. There are so many businesses that have been excelling as great corporate and community citizens and they deserve our support.
Vinetti’s (469) 779-0123 14833 Midway Rd. Addison, TX
Right now, a staple in our community, South Dallas Cafe, is temporarily closed. The Price family has been serving this Metroplex for decades. They need support now and instead of griping and groaning, we need to step up. Black organizations, churches, schools etc., need to make a commitment to the survival of Black businesses, just as they want everyone to support them. Vinetti’s will soon be providing curbside and to-go orders only, beginning at 5 pm. Hopefully they have those famous green beans on the menu!
We are going to be sharing information about many of those businesses. We’re offering “free” advertising to these businesses that have been so supportive. We will also be distributing our newspaper at these businesses. We encourage you to check us out, and check them out. We’re going to ensure that we are continuing to provide news and information that is enlightening, educational, informative, engaging, inspiring, and yes, entertaining. Call in your orders ahead to Smokey John’s Bar-B-Que, Two Podners, Black Jack Pizza (two locations) Hall’s Honey-fried Chicken, Aunt Irene’s, Elaine’s Kitchen and Dreamerz Café.
Smokey John’s Bar-B-Que (214) 352-2752 1820 W Mockingbird Ln Dallas, Texas 75235
Now let me give you my own “why you should try” the aforementioned businesses. Probably the first Black-owned restaurant that I visited when I moved to Dallas in 1981 and I still go there today, Bar-B-Que. Every Friday, it was the place to be for good food, fellowship and entertainment. Then on Saturdays, the FAMU Alumni Association held meetings there and it was also the birthplace of the Dallas Metroplex Council of Black Alumni Associations. Yes, the fish and macaroni and cheese is great, and there’s so much more. Smokey John’s is a favorite at the State Fair of Texas.
Two Podners 214-421-5387 1441 Robert B Cullum Blvd. Dallas, Texas 75210
Now I remember when it was called Ponderosa’s and I would go and get my broiled fish to order, just like KKDA’s Willis Johnson did. Then in the 1990s the name was changed to Two Podners and I enjoyed the collard greens, chicken tetrazzini, yams and okra. Many an aspiring journalists in the Dallas-Fort Worth Association of Black Journalists Urban Journalism Workshop dined on Two Podners’ food. Now in a larger location, when all this drama subsides you can even bring parties of close to 100 for private gathering upstairs.
Note: They also won 1st Place for Best Traditional Macaroni and Cheese at the 2020 Healthy Living Expo!
Elaine’s Kitchen (214) 565-1008 2717 Martin L. King Jr Blvd, Dallas, TX 75215
Elaine’s Kitchen does great things with curry and jerk seasonings! I celebrated the move to their own building where they offered an expanded menu that includes their wonderful macaroni and cheese that placed second in the 2020 Healthy Living Expo!
Black Jack Pizza (214) 565-1025 2536 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd Dallas, TX 75215 2120 N St Augustine Suite 100 Dallas, TX 75227 (972) 329-1414
Pizza is a great comfort food, but Black Jack Pizza has so much more, including Ms. Dorothy’s beautiful smile. And that tea! I can’t tell you, because I don’t eat beef, but I always hear rave reviews about the burgers! And, as a pizza connoisseur from Jersey, the pizza is GREAT!
Hall’s Honey Fried Chicken (214) 371-3020 4845 S Lancaster Rd. Dallas, TX 75216
Hall’s Honey Fried Chicken keeps a line, and it’s no wonder. I love eating the fried batter drippings, and my grand babies just love the chicken and fries!
Real Aunt Irene’s Kitchen (469) 899-7927 3309 S Malcolm X Blvd Dallas, TX 75215
I couldn’t believe the first time I laid eyes on the Black Box at the Real Aunt Irene’s Kitchen. Talk about phenomenal! Give me the fish, crabs, bread, and yes, of course, I have to have the boiled eggs. Check out the menu; meat lovers will also be pleased.
Dreamerz Cafe (972) 863-7372 4417 S. Lancaster Road Dallas, TX 75216
There’s a new biz in town with Dreamerz Cafe, where the salmon is seasoned just right and the rice was fluffy. But believe me when I tell you the corn was absolutely wonderful! Located right across the street from the VA Hospital, you can get in and get out.
Royal’s Fried Chicken (214) 859-3472 140 S Clark Rd, Cedar Hill, Texas 75104
In Cedar Hill, there’s Royal’s Fried Chicken. There’s much more than fried chicken on the menu and if the long lines are any indication, the food is great. I know their daily specials are like, “wow!”
I urge you to continue reading as we highlight others. And guess what? Many of these businesses offer delivery. We’re going to get through this together. We have no choice. Hopefully some lessons will be learned, from this pandemic, for all who make it out. We must be and do better. We can’t sweat the small stuff. We must realize what’s really important and give as we’d like to receive. We must value and respect one another. And, for those who don’t learn something from or during these times in which we find ourselves, well you’ve got some reckoning to do. We have to do and live this time, not let this time do us!