By Michael D’Onofrio
Philadelphia City Council wants every Friday to be Black Friday for Black-owned businesses.
Legislators introduced a non-binding resolution on Thursday that would declare the end of each workweek in December “Shop Black Business Friday” in the city. The resolution could be passed as soon as next week.
Councilwoman Cherelle Parker, the main sponsor of the resolution, said in a released statement that “Black culture runs deep in Philadelphia.”
“Black- and Brown-owned businesses contribute greatly to the fabric of our city, despite long-existing barriers towards entrepreneurs of color in opening, operating and growing their businesses,” Parker said.
As the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to scuttle the economy, Black-owned businesses are closing at nearly twice the rate of other businesses in the nation, according to a study from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in August.
Parker said she hoped her resolution would boost sales and jobs at those businesses.
The promotional resolution comes as Visit Philadelphia launched an initiative highlighting Black- and brown-owned small businesses this holiday season. More than 130 businesses are featured at visitphilly.com/buyblackandbrown.
Hakim Hopkins, founder of the bookstore Black and Nobel on South Street, welcomed the calls to draw more shoppers to Black-owned businesses.
“I love it,” he said. “Of course it’s needed. We want every day to be Black Friday but I’ll settle for every Friday.”
Hopkins said the spotlight on Black-owned businesses could particularly help traditional brick-and-mortar stores in the city, whose foot traffic has plummeted during the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s needed to keep things going,” he said. “We’ve got to keep the blood flowing in businesses.