Black Business Month: Celebrating Phoenixville’s Black-Owned Businesses
The meaning of our national holidays is often overlooked. When we’re eating burgers on July 4th or heading to the beach on Memorial Day, we typically don’t take time to reflect on why we are given a break from our busy lives.
The same can be said for the hundreds—if not thousands—of national days on the calendar, some of which are ridiculously specific. Yet, there are days and months that are dedicated to real subjects.
Every year, August is recognized as Black Business Month. It’s an uplifting message to empower black business owners and spread awareness of the challenges faced by minority business owners.
Black-owned businesses are not always going to be like FUBU, which was founded by Daymond John–a black entrepreneur and one of the sharks on NBC’s Shark Tank. The businesses owned and operated by black entrepreneurs are also your small businesses. Owners face a different set of challenges in running small businesses compared to white-owned businesses.
Black Business Month is to highlight the oppositions black owners face, but it also sheds a light on the underrepresented business owners.
“In 2019, there were 134,567 Black-owned employer businesses (businesses with more than one employee) in all sectors of the U.S. economy.”census.gov
The data shows that black entrepreneurship is growing, but it doesn’t speak to the difficulties black business owners endure. Despite the challenges, there are many reasons to celebrate black-owned businesses. Among the reasons to celebrate Black Business Month is tied to the small businesses within our communities.
Phoenixville’s Black-Owned Businesses
We all know and love downtown Phoenixville. It offers a plethora of restaurants, shops, and things to do. Yet, you might be unaware of the black-owned businesses within the community. Bizcolumnist.com caught up with Shawn Cephas of Forever Changes Music and Gifts to chat about Black Business Month.
Cephas opened his record store in late 2021 and is quickly ingraining his shop into the community through collaborations, personality, and–of course–fantastic music. If you want to read more about the shop, check out this article.
Cephas offered his thoughts on Black Business Month.
“It definitely is nice to be nationally recognized, but generally, black-owned businesses are small businesses. The next step of being recognized and supported within the community is what’s most important. The national recognition allows for the attention of the large corporations to offer support. A national “month” is meaningless unless there is tangible community support.”Shawn Cephas, Owner at Forever Changes
As mentioned before, most black-owned businesses are small businesses. As a small business owner, you need to have grit, determination, and a drive to succeed. Cephas said that even as an owner of his business, it presents different, systematic biases.
“Racism, the imbalance of equity, is part of every aspect of the life of a person of color. I mean, something as basic as customers assuming that I’m just an employee–there’s no chance (in their mind) that I could own this place. White customers feeling the need to give me advice. Like, “yes, person that has never sold a record in your life, tell me what I should do with my store, when…I literally grew up behind the counter of a record store and have been a collector and enthusiast since I was 13-years-old.” There are naturally bigger challenges that we face, but it seems to boil down to the very simple script of, “You don’t know how to do this.”Shawn Cephas, Owner at Forever changes
The topic of black-owned businesses in Phoenixville is not well known. Cephas encourages everyone to promote and celebrate black-owned businesses.
“Unfortunately the fact that we have several Black-owned businesses here is kind of a secret and it shouldn’t be. It should be celebrated. I don’t know how, but somehow we–the community and the businesses–have to bring this asset to the forefront. Promote, support, and acknowledge the black-owned businesses.”Shawn Cephas, Owner at Forever Changes
Another black business owner in Phoenixville, Moshe Jenkins, offered his thoughts on Black Business Month. Jenkins is a behavioral therapist by day and operates a DJ business on the side.
In Phoenixville, I have been received well and supported by many, and I am proud to have my business based out of this area. Sometimes it can be a task explaining to people why “black businesses” are important and should be recognized given the racial history of our country. However, sometimes people have aversions to them and create ideas about who is “welcome” to a black business. I have heard of 0 black businesses that say, “You can’t come here unless you are black,” however, that message seems to be interpreted by others in some cases. So, there is a bit of a stigma with identifying yourself as a black business in certain spaces, which may create conflicts with who may support your business. I am happy that Black Business Month exists as it is another opportunity to recognize and highlight black businesses. It brings awareness and promotes opportunities for people to learn about and experience black businesses.Moshe Jenkins, Owner – DJ and Owner of The Spin Therapist
To reference an earlier quote from Cephas, a “month” does not mean anything unless there is an action taken to support the black business community. Let’s take a look at another reference from Daymond John.
In 2020, after the months following the George Floyd protests, John took action. On The Rich Eisen Show, he conveyed that he felt that he wasn’t doing enough to empower the black business community, so he created “Black Entrepreneurs’ Day.”
Black Entrepreneurs’ Day is now an annual conference with black leaders in the business community who are offering thoughts and motivation to black entrepreneurs and helping the owners navigate their challenges. It’s actions like Daymond John’s that create positivity and awareness for black-owned businesses.
On a smaller scale, Phoenixville has many black-owned businesses. The opportunity to support the black business community can be found in your backyard. Check out the list at the bottom of this blog to find Phoenixville’s black-owned businesses.
If you’re thinking of sharing a “National Pizza Day” photo or deciding to hashtag #nationalhotdogday, you should opt to support your friends and neighbors by sharing Black Business Month and tagging your local businesses. You can help the oppositions the owners face by shopping local, sharing thoughts and images on social media, and referring customers to your community’s black-owned businesses.
Here’s the full list of black-owned businesses in Phoenixville:
Jonathan Duncan – State Farm Local Agent
TC House of Style
The Spin Therapist – DJ Moshe Jenkins
If you know or operate a black-owned business, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the list!
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