By Betty Yu

OAKLAND (KPIX) – A national call to support black-owned businesses on ‘Blackout Day’ brought a much-needed boost in sales to some East Bay entrepreneurs.

Blackout Day encourages Black Americans and supporters to not spend money, unless it’s with black owned businesses. The effort gained steam following the death of George Floyd and protests against racial injustice.

Burmese Asian Fusion restaurant Teni East Kitchen said it immediately saw a 30 percent boost in sales.

“We had the community just coming together, supporting us, and we feel it, we feel acknowledged, we feel like we’ve been seen. It’s a small restaurant,” said owner Tiyo Shibabaw.

Across the Bay Area, customers were trying to make a big impact.

“I think it’s really just the first step in the right direction,” said Rachelle Wright of Hayward. “There’s plenty of places to eat, I know we all love a lot of different foods, but do we always support our people?”

Rachelle Wright and her friend first heard about Blackout Day on social media.

“First of all, I think it’s important to support small business owners in the community. And also all the different races, especially the black community here, because everybody’s struggling to begin with,” said Michelle Welds of Alameda.

Google searches for “black-owned businesses near me” hit an all-time high in June.

Yelp has changed its search function, making it easier to find companies that are black-owned.

The support is critical during the pandemic. A recent study found black business ownership dropped 41 percent from February to mid-April. That’s compared to a 17 percent decrease in white business ownership.

“Given what’s been going on with coronavirus, and a lot of restaurants are really struggling right now and this makes a huge difference,” said Shibabaw.

Customer Selena Wilson says she is always mindful about where she spends her money.

“Food, services, in fact I just got my car detailed by a black-owned business the other day, so it’s something that I intentionally do on a regular basis, and I would encourage people to make what we’re doing today a regular thing,” said Wilson.

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