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Buy Black: Black-owned small businesses hit harder by the pandemic

"Support is key. If you're going to invest, why not invest in your own community," said Lashonna Bonner, owner Authentic Queens.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact small businesses, but Black-owned businesses are being hit harder than others.

That's according to an H&R Block study conducted earlier this year. It found more than half of Black-owned small businesses experienced at least a 50% decrease in revenue during the pandemic compared to only 37% among white business owners. 

Part of the struggle for many Black businesses stems from the lack of financial savings and less access to capital, such as the federal Paycheck Protection Program loan. In fact, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, less than 2% of the roughly four million small businesses that received loans during the first round of the Paycheck Protection Program went to Black-owned businesses.

But, when it comes to racial disparities in business ownership, funding gaps existed prior to the pandemic. Between February and April of 2020, Black business ownership declined more than 40%, the largest drop across any ethnic group. That's coming from a report by the House Committee on Small Business Committee. It details how Black-owned businesses were less likely to handle mandated COVID-19 closures due to lack of access to financial relief.

"All of a sudden, something out of your control comes along and you're like what do I do now," said Shaonnia Dennis, owner of Curbside Boutique. "I had to create an Instagram account, Facebook account and learn how to market online and slowly grow my following until I was able to start doing in-person pop-up events." 

Credit: Black Friday Coalition

Shaonnia Dennis is one of dozens of other Black business owners participating in the 5th annual Shop Black Friday Sacramento event at the Florin Square Shopping Center. The pop-up event, hosted by the Black Friday Coalition, encourages everyone throughout the region to buy black.

"I'm very fortunate to have been working through the COVID-19 pandemic, full time job, outside of trying to grow my business on the side," Dennis said. "That's what kept me afloat."

Lashonna Bonner owns a hair shop with clothing apparel in Sacramento. Despite the pandemic, the salon thrived with incoming clients. But, at the same time, the clothing line suffered financially. 

"i did see a big change," said Lashonna Bonner, owner Authentic Queens. "I had to pick up with the hair salon, along with other areas, because the clothes went down in sales a lot. It was about a 50 to 60 percent decline." 

You can help support small Black-owned businesses year-round. For starters, you might want to consider visiting the 5th annual Shop Black Friday Sacramento event on Saturday from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Florin Square Shopping Center. 

"Support is key. If you're going to invest, why not invest in your own community," Bonner said.

WATCH MORE: 'We really had a rough year' | Roseville Galleria boutiques rejoice first Black Friday since 2019

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