COVID-19: Harlem Small Businesses Struggle, as Black Communities Suffer

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[Black Business\COVID-19]
Reuters: "Though Black Americans make up 22% of New York City residents, they account for only 2.1% of business owners."
Photo: Twitter

Harlem's Sylvia's Restaurant, run by Tren'ness Woods-Black, like other Black businesses are experiencing extreme economic challenges during COVID-19 pandemic.

Sylvia’s, a soul food restaurant on Malcolm X Boulevard in Harlem, New York, saw a welcome bump in donations and revenue from new customers in early June following calls to “buy Black” after the death of George Floyd.

But the increase didn’t help the 58-year-old landmark restaurant turn a profit. The coronavirus pandemic has limited its operations, forcing the Harlem staple to lay off most of its staff and slash revenues.

Owner Tren’ness Woods-Black welcomed the publicity but said she is more concerned about her core clientele, a devoted group of mostly Black patrons who used to dine at the restaurant every day.

While the restaurant industry is expected to take two to three years to return to pre-COVID-19 revenue levels, Woods-Black said it would take even longer for spending among Black Americans to bounce back.

“I’m expecting that from the Black perspective Harlem is going to come back very different,” she said. “When the nation bleeds, Harlem hemorrhages.”

Woods-Black is one of many Black business owners in New York who fear that the disproportionate economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic on their communities might be long lasting. Many are worried the number of black business owners in the city will shrink even further. Though Black Americans make up 22% of New York City residents, they account for only 2.1% of business owners, according to city data.

For the rest of this Reuters story log on to: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-black-business/in-...

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