‘We need that support;’ Jacksonville Black business owners concerned with money spent elsewhere

To kick off Black History Month we spoke with Black business owners who are struggling with a common problem in their community. Action News Jax met with business owners who said African Americans are spending money outside the black community.

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According to the Center for Law and Social Policy, Black labor has been foundational to America’s development and our economy. But there’s a challenge the Black community is facing, and it’s hurting Black business owners.

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“The black business -- we need that support. Spend within your community because outside of your community -- that grows, and we die out,” business owner Ann Williams said.

Ann Williams and her husband, Bernard, have been in business for nearly 40 years. During their time in Jacksonville, they had seen a decrease in Black-owned businesses.

Action News Jax met with business owners who said African Americans are spending money outside the black community.
Action News Jax met with business owners who said African Americans are spending money outside the black community.

“Jacksonville needs more Black own business in the community,” business owner Bernard Williams said. “All different types of businesses will create that wealth we need in our community.”

Read: ‘The thriving of a black community:’ Black-owned business showcased at 6th annual Real Black Friday

Councilman Matt Carlucci made his point that African Americans should spend more in their community to help small businesses.

“That’s a natural demographic that black businesses should be benefiting from,” Councilman Carlucci said. “The more we blend together as a city, the better it is for everybody.”

Motivational speaker and author Almon Gunter ran his business for over 20 years. In his line of work, he saw how the absence of the Black dollar affected businesses and communities.

Read: Action News Jax, local organizations compile list of Jacksonville-area black-owned businesses

“The bottom line is if you remove that black dollar from any economy, it’s going to suffer,” Gunter said. “Anytime you take those dollars outside that community, that community is not going to thrive. If we held on to our black dollars, that means some other community won’t thrive.”

“So, sticking together, supporting one another, and putting our money together can help make sure the black community is served,” business owner Ivroy Johnson said.

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Bernard Williams told us he believes the black dollar is pivotal in the black community as it holds keys to economic and community growth.

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