Personal Insights: Ode to Small Businesses

Personal Insights: Ode to Small Businesses

By Rebecca Carvalho

When COVID-19 reached its peak in the United States, everything from cleaning products to the typical milk-bread-eggs combination that sells out during snowstorms flew off store shelves. Understandably, during March and April, we started social distancing, lockdowns, and more depending on the state you lived in. In my small town, I was saved by the same establishment that has swiftly swept in to save the day on numerous occasions: my local bodega. Its dully-lit open sign has shone like a bright beacon during the most in-a-pinch times: when I’m craving potato chips, want a sandwich well past the hours of any restaurant or bar, or need tampons before going on a long drive.

As everyone flooded supermarkets and bulk bought every cleaner in sight, I walked down the street to see if they had any of my usual essentials. I was able to get toilet paper, locally made pita bread, Greek yogurt, and Clorox wipes. In a world where everything felt like it was changing, seeing my one corner store like it was as always, was a great source of comfort and hope. The number of times I’ve thanked the family that works behind the counter (who have asked me how my mom is doing or see me on the street and tell me when they have my favorite candy), is innumerable. My small thank you and hello’s have never felt more vital or like a part of my community’s heartbeat.

This is an ode to the places that continue to be there for us when we don’t know if we can keep showing up for ourselves. The ones that keep their doors open, adjust to change and troubleshoot solutions with their neighbors in mind. The bagel shop within walking distance that knows your order every Sunday, or the bar that you would spend countless Friday nights at that now provides to-go cocktails and mixed six-packs for you to enjoy. Remember the birthday cakes, pastries, and cookies from the local bakery that opened a year ago? Give them a shout on Yelp. Remember the feeling of a new small business owner who decided to open a shop and, despite all odds, made it through the first two years? See how you can support it. Think about the times where you were able to sit at a table, alone, but you were never really alone  – because the bartenders took a moment to ask about your day or see if they could make your favorite drink. The same bartender also knew when to leave you alone and not say a word.

One of the most well-known local businesses in my city closed this week. Rumored to have been invented in Paterson, New Jersey,  Libby’s was the last place in my hometown that still made Texas wieners (a delicious, loaded plate of heartburn). I feel a slight pang when I drive past, remembering it as a place I’d rarely visit, but like family, it was still always just a call away.

1 in 3 restaurants are expected to permanently close as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. That means 1 in 3 places that know your name when you walk in, that you’ve seen pictures of families hung up behind the counter and signed dollar bills that say best of luck, will close their doors. 1 out of 3 places that made tamales that taste like grandma’s, fresh pasta sauces that are reminiscent of big Italian dinners with your childhood friend’s family, and the hole in the wall that got voted best curry five years in a row will disappear.  Don’t you want to be part of why they’re able to stay?

Black Business Directory

Green’s BBQ
A social club and BBQ restaurant located in Columbia, SC

Design Dentistry
A black owned dentistry in Columbia, SC

Ethel’s Club
Black owned social and wellness club

Heal Haus
Black owned wellness center and cafe located in Brooklyn, NY

The Lit Bar in the Bronx
Black owned wine bar and library located in Brooklyn

Commit Haircare
Black-owned company that focuses on using safe all-natural ingredients that are safe for the whole family to use.

The Brown Estate
Black Owned Winery in Napa

Simply Wholesome
A Black Owned Soul Food Restaurant located in Los Angeles

Chef B
A Vegan Restaurant Owner and Chef

Bloom and Plume Coffee
Black LGBTQ owned coffee shop

The Underground Museum
Exhibition space by artists for artists.

The Lip Bar
Black woman owned, vegan beauty brand

The Honey Pot Co.
First plant based feminine care system. Black woman owned

The McBride Sisters Wine
Black owned wine company

Black owned hair care subscription box

Black owned restaurant located in Washington, DC

Milk & Honey
Black owned restaurant located in various cities.


Latinx Business Directory

Anima Mundi
Latinx owned Apothecary located in Brooklyn, New York

Latinx Owned Coffee Shop with locations in Manhattan, NY and Brooklyn, NY

La Newyorkina
Latinx Owned Ice Cream Shop in West Village, New York

Plaza Fiesta
An indoor shopping mall with all Latinx businesses in Atlanta, Georgia

Buteco Atlanta
Latinx owned Coffee Shop and Bar located in Atlanta, Georgia

Marietta’s New Theatre in The Square
Latinx owned theatre with Latinx crew in Marietta, Georgia

Latinx owned hair care brand based in Los Angeles, California

Latinx co-owned Boutique based in Pacific Palisades, California

Latinx Owned Restaurant located in Los Angeles, California

Indigenous Business Directory

The Sioux Chef
Indigenous Restaurant and training center in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Four by Brother Luck
Southwestern/Indigenous Hybrid Cuisine in Colorado Springs, Colorado

Tiwa Kitchen
Pueblo Cuisine in Taos, New Mexico

Copper Crow Distillery
‘First Native American Owned’ Distillery in Red Cliff, Wisconsin

Ederza Gallery
Tahltan owned Art and Sportswear

Indigo Arrows
Anishinaabe Interior Designs

Kita Wines
Native American Winery in Santa Barbara County, California

Nk’Mip Cellars
Indigenous Winery

Creative Ways People Have Stayed Connected During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Creative Ways People Have Stayed Connected During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Creative Ways People Have Stayed Connected During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Personal Insights: How To Talk With Your Black Employees About Racial Tensions
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