Black-Owned Business

CT Black-Owned Businesses Report Increased Support

Sales at The Key Bookstore and Rhythm Brewing Company have sky-rocketed.

NBC Universal, Inc.

Amid racial tensions across the country, some Connecticut-based black-owned businesses are reporting an increase in sales.

"Our sales have sky-rocketed tens of thousands of percent," said Khamani Harrison, owner of Hartford-based The Key Bookstore.

The Key Bookstore is an online interactive bookshop curated for Afrocentricity, environmentalism, spirituality and entrepreneurship. Harrison said that her business was tagged in several articles highlighting black-owned businesses that people can support. Since then, she has lost track of the different states where orders are coming in from.

Harrison said that supporting black-owned businesses is one of the most effective ways to make change.

"Diversifying your spending is a powerful way of showing solidarity with another group and not a donation. We have businesses and services that have value," said Harrison.

Harrison said that her books hold tremendous value and can act as vehicles of change. She appreciates the increased support she has received in the last week and hopes the support lasts.

Black-owned businesses are reporting a spike in sales as Connecticut residents look to show their support in an important way. One of the businesses seeing a growth in sales is a brewery in New Haven.

"Let this be a change, a shift," said Harrison. "If you can march with us, you can spend money with us."

Alisa Bowens-Mercado, owner of New Haven-based Rhythm Brewing Company, has seen a similar uptick in sales.

"Our social media literally has tripled in the last 72 hours," said Bowens-Mercado.

People have been tagging Rhythm Brewing Co. in social media posts, letting people know that they are a black-owned business and asking people to support them. Even though Rhythm Brewing does not have national distribution, people from across the world are reaching out. Some people are participating in their newly launched fundraiser to show support.

"They want to know what can they do. And what they are doing means a lot," said Bowens-Mercado, who was the first African American woman to own a brewing company in Connecticut back in 2018. She said that her goal has always been to diversify the beer industry.

"Our mission and our brand and our good cause has been kind of revealed to the world and we are grateful for that," said Bowens-Mercado.

If you are interested in supporting a black-owned business you can visit RankTribe, a nationwide directory of black-owned businesses. David Martin created the site, which is also an app, as a personal project. In the last week he has seen a large increase in visitors on the site.

“It has been an enormous amount of traffic of people looking for black-owned businesses to support," said Martin.

You can search the app by city and it will tell you what black-owned businesses are in your area. You can also add black-owned businesses to the app, free of charge.

“It is one of the most important immediate effects you can do right now," said Martin. "Of course we need laws and we need the system to change, but this is what we can do now.”

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