Nashville couple hosts tour to help Black business owners sell products

Black business ownership rates dropped significantly during pandemic
Posted at 8:50 AM, Aug 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-20 11:21:51-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Any small business owner would say running it during the pandemic has been challenging. Owners have lost revenue, employees, and much more.

According to a recent study in 2020, Black business ownership rates dropped 41% between February and April -- the largest rate of any racial group.

The Committee on Small Business reports that Black-owned businesses were less equipped to handle mandated closures, more likely to be in areas with high volumes of COVID cases and had less access to relief.

Finding that relief wasn’t easy, according to Tee and Greg Westbrook. The Nashville couple spent a lot of time last year really informing Black business owners and business owners of color how to maneuver during the pandemic -- like applying for PPP loans.

“They were either not staffed adequately enough, they didn't have operations in place to deal with the fallout, or they simply didn't have the resources to continue their business. That’s why we are in the business of helping our people prosper beyond that,” Tee Westbrook said.

The Westbrooks' started to help owners even more by hosting the Shop Black City Tour. The couple has traveled across the country setting up events where Black business owners can come sell their products.

This Sunday, the tour stops here in Music City at Hadley Park. There will be more than 100 owners present selling their products. The event runs from 2 p.m. - 6 p.m.

The Westbrooks quit their day jobs to become full-time entrepreneurs and run events like this.

They’re passionate about helping Black business owners build generational wealth and extend life past that eight-year mark, when a lot of businesses tend to close.

They say shopping local and supporting Black owners is a great way to ensure money stays in our neighborhoods.

“Keeping the money in our communities will help us be able to facilitate more things so we can have better schools and better roads and better things. If people that look like us, are keeping the money and then able to reinvest that money back into the community,” Greg Westbrook explained.

For more information on the event, click here.