Supporting Black-owned businesses important in communities on Atlanta’s westside

Published: Feb. 15, 2022 at 7:32 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Supporting black owned businesses has become especially important in historically black communities on Atlanta’s westside. But funding can often be hard to come by for black business owners.

That’s where a special nonprofit comes in. they’re helping prop up black owned businesses that have been hit hard by the pandemic.

At Local Green restaurant on Atlanta’s westside, healthy is a high priority.

“We only air fry our fries, we don’t have a deep fryer here,” says Zak Wallace the owner of Local Green.

The community where he built his business is in a food desert where there are limited options to shop for fresh foods. Wallace wanted give his neighbors healthier options. “It woke people up and started to educate people, people didn’t know what pescatarian was. People were calling it presbyterian, that is a religion,” Wallace joked. But he admits, it has been a struggle staying afloat, “Yes, you know you have challenges as a small minority-owned business anyway, but COVID just compounded that. It’s been said when America has a cold, Black America has the flu.”

Some minority businesses are now able to stay afloat through special investment loans from the Westside Future Fund, a nonprofit focused on revitalizing historic westside neighborhoods in need.

Cristel Williams, chief development officer of Westside Future Fund says, “We’re really excited about local business owners contributing to the economy, helping to fuel jobs and helping to make a difference right here where they’ve been for so long.”

“This helps me to compete with the wages that the big guys are coming with and bring people to the community,” Wallace says.

And Yolanda Owens of IWI Fresh Skin Farming Spa, a one-of-a-kind on Nelson Street, will benefit from the special loan too. “As a minority-owned business and a Black woman minority-owned business, it’s always been very challenging,” Owens says.

“When I grew up on the westside, we didn’t have natural choices or eco choices or sustainability choices, we didn’t have these type of things, so i really want to be that, I have been that, that’s my goal to be that in the community. Then when I have companies like westside future fund that can back me and support me for being that, it really does help,” Owens says.

Westside Future Funds is currently accepting applications for another round of loans. To apply, click here.