The pandemic has presented many minority-owned business owners with a range of challenges throughout the last year. While some business owners pivoted their workflow to stay afloat, others struggled or closed their doors for good.
At the start of the pandemic, there were major setbacks. Between February and April of 2020, the number of Black business owners nationwide dropped by 41 percent, compared to 17 percent of white business owners, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. Those numbers rebounded over the summer and into the fall, but other data points suggest that minority business owners have seen their revenue fall more sharply and have had difficulty accessing government help like the Paycheck Protection Program.
Basic Black revisited four local Black and brown business owners we have spoken with this year to learn how they navigated this uncertain economic climate. Each one had to upend the status quo to survive and some say they will never return to their pre-pandemic business model.
“I had to dip into my own savings. I had to dip into money I had put away for other stuff now became the money I needed,” said Erinn Danielle, a hair salon owner in Cambridge.
“When Boston opens back up, and everyone is vaccinated, and we have this sort of new norm, I’m not really sure how much of our business is going to change back to how it was pre-pandemic,” said TJ Douglass, co-owner of The Urban Grape, a craft beer and spirits shop in Boston’s South End.
As we reflect on the first anniversary of Massachusetts’ emergency declaration for the coronavirus pandemic, GBH and Basic Black share stories from the community.
“A Year Apart: How COVID Changed Us” gives us a moment to pause and the experiences of our neighbors, navigating this challenging year just as we are.
Watch this special edition of Basic Black: