Black-owned businesses seeing support with an influx in patrons

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MAPLEWOOD, MO – In this era of COVID-19 and civil unrest over the death of George Floyd, some are looking for ways to show their support for the black community and they want to do so with their spending dollars.

Nestled on the corner of Sutton and Hazel in Maplewood you’ll find C. Oliver Coffee and Flower Bar.

But you may not see the struggles its owner faces.

“We had very serious conversations about if we wanted to present ourselves as black-owned just yet because we did feel we wouldn’t get as much business if everyone knew this was black-owned,” said Olivia Ridgel, owner.

But this week, she says she’s proud to own her truth. Painting on her front window “Black-owned business”.

“One of the things we should be doing right now is putting our money where our mouth is and not just putting support on Facebook and Instagram and social media. Let’s pump money into the community,” said Stephanie Scott, a shopper.

“If we’re helping people of color in our neighborhood acquire wealth, we put them in better positions to affect policy in our area, and then that helps all of us,” said Toshia Verheggen, a shopper.

During this unrest, many have been looking for ways to get involved and it’s starting a movement. Some are even compiling their own lists of Black-owned businesses.

Some owners say it’s starting to have an impact.

“He [the owner] didn’t recognize her and asked ‘What brought you here?’ She said, ‘I want to patronize black owned businesses‘, and they really had a moment. It was a great experience for the both of them,” said Scott.

For some, it’s getting them into different communities to spend their dollars, at the same time some say it also opening up their eyes to the lack of diversification in their own communities.

“If you don’t feel like you can drive in a city or feel like you can go to a restaurant in a certain city you’re definitely not gonna feel like you can open a business in that city either,” said Ridgel.

Ridgel is encouraging Black business owners to come out of the shadows and be proud of what they’ve accomplished.

“I think that this is the perfect time to do it. It’s time for us to put our faces out there and be confident in who we are and be confident that we have a business and that we’re successful. I think right now there is support for all of us out there. People do want to support us and I have seen that now.”

If you’re looking for a list of Black-owned businesses click this link:

If you’d like to add a business you can reach out to its creator, Stephanie Redel Scott on Facebook.

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