Minority-owned small businesses hit harder during pandemic

Posted at 7:07 PM, Jan 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-31 22:43:01-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A new nationwide poll from Small Business Minority shows minority-owned businesses continue to experience major financial losses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those businesses battle each day to keep their doors open.

The poll also showed almost 25% temporarily closed their doors and about 60% have not been able to bring back employees to pre-pandemic levels.

Small business owners in the Kansas City metro are feeling the pinch.

"I am using all of my resources and the resources of my family to sustain the business and we’re slowing losing everything," said Gigi Jones, owner of Gigi’s Vegan Cafe + Wellness.

In the midst of these hard times, Jones maintains a smile on her face as she tries to keep her healthy vegan food business in Westport open.

"Everyone is just at a standstill because no one knows what’s going to happen," Jones said.

Jones faced hurdles in getting financing and opened her business just as the pandemic started.

"When it comes to loans, when it comes to just stereotyping, then this is what happens. it creates a harmful impact on our business," said Jones.

The Corner Bar and Grill in the 18th and Vine District faces challenges with restrictions on business, bar owner Henry Service said.

"Everyone is talking about pull up yourself from your bootstraps and then they don’t even give you the bootstraps to pull yourself up with,"Service said.

Service said many minority-owned businesses don't have the resources to apply for many of the financial relief loans and that puts them at a disadvantage.

"A lot of minority businesses couldn't afford that so they didn’t have that" Service said. "They were still using the old scroll it down on paper and write that out then you have to be conventionally set up, which a lot of them weren’t."

The disparities for minority-owned small businesses pre-COVID are magnified during the pandemic.

"The rate of rent or lease is disproportionate for what they can afford so the community as a whole is always suffering and because of the pandemic the community is suffering even more," said Kim Randolph, CEO and President of the Heartland Black Chamber of Commerce.

Randolph believes about half the small Black-owned business have permanently closed their doors.

"Minority businesses on an average are mom and pops so they’re not registered with the state," Randolph said. They are paying taxes through their own social security numbers. and so having those financial and some of those things businesses have that were being required had left a gap so they were left out."

To learn more about help through the Federal PPP loan program, click here.