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Facebook group looks to help Black business owners amid pandemic

Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 6:11 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 17, 2021 at 8:32 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Navigating a small business through the pandemic is certainly a scary feat, and it’s a very real fear as COVID-19 case numbers rise again. Luckily, The Black Business Group of Richmond connects owners and patrons.

A.J. Brewer is one of its 4,000 members and currently has six ventures in his name, so he knows the value of a tool like this.

“I always believed that I was going to be a very successful person,” Brewer said, in the space of what will be a new, expanded location for Brewer’s Cafe. He owns Brewer’s Cafe 1 and 2, along with Brewer’s Waffles - which closed in January - along with an art gallery, a non-profit and other things.

Growth like this is partially made through networking in the Black Business Group of Richmond, which was started by entrepreneur James Harris.

“We’ve had people from as far as Ghana. We have people from Richmond. People from different states: Atlanta, New York, California,” Harris said.

He and others started the group five years ago to help Black business owners push their goods and services within a local network.

The pandemic proved to be a problematic time for many, and the group became a hub for the owners to connect, coordinate virtual events, or coordinate drop-offs and pick-ups with customers.

“People don’t know the information they have access to. I just want to be a resource, I want to be a liaison. I want to continue to move the culture forward,” Harris said.

On top of that, Harris says that therapists in the group were able to help other members cope with the ups and downs.

“Any ounce of help that you have with promotion, advertisement... it goes a long way. So, the fact that there is a community of Black entrepreneurs, Black business owners, a Black community that I can extend my hand to for help with getting the word out - it just goes that much further,” Brewer said.

The private group is open to business owners and patrons and can be found on Facebook at Black Business Group of Richmond.

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