Minority-owned businesses hoping to bounce back with support, pay it forward

Minority-owned businesses hoping to bounce back with support, pay it forward

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Radio personality and restaurant owner Sam Sylk wants to see more black-owned businesses supported, for the value they bring the community and the potential to pay it forward.

”It’s about the community. It’s about supporting one another. We have some wonderful black businesses,” Sylk said.

Restaurants obviously took a hit during the shut down and recovery, but minority-owned businesses are hoping to recover through a surge in support on the heels of the recent Black Lives Matter protests.

Sylks’ Chicken and Fish locations lost their dine in customers, but have seen a nice uptick in delivery customers lately.

And Chef Eric Rogers of Black Box Fix, whose business is also largely built on carry-out, has seen about a 30 percent boost lately.

They were able to re open their location in the Glen Village Incubator Project, a City of Cleveland initiative, where they are one of 8 black owned businesses in that “new rise.”

“I’m from this community. My first job was in a restaurant was in my grandmother’s restaurant, a block away from there,” Rogers said.

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He said it’s been great to be embraced, and engage.

“It’s not just about the restaurant it’s about bringing the community in. We have a beautiful garden and a beautiful seating area outside where will be doing live cook outs. I’ll be teaching youths how to be young entrepreneurs and chefs and doing a lot of engaging things with the community,” Rogers said.

For Sylk, getting the support in the form of customers means they can pay it forward, keeping people working.

“That’s huge. You want to be able to employ folks in the community. You’re a part of the community. We give back. We do a lot in our community. You want to be able to support those efforts. It brings a lot of value to our community. That dollar will continue to circulate,” he said.

Rogers is currently working with the Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging to feed thousands of seniors.

And Sylk sponsors little league teams and organizes food and coat drives.

If you’d like to support other black-owned businesses in town, The Real Black Friday, a locally curated directory, with more than 500 black-owned businesses in the Cleveland area.

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