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Black Charlotte entrepreneurs see bump in business after ‘Black Out Tuesday’ social media hashtag

Published: Jun. 10, 2020 at 11:22 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A movement on social media is making a world of a difference for some Charlotte black-owned businesses. These owners say they are getting a lot more customers with this new spotlight.

“Black Out Tuesday happened and overnight, I woke up to a number of inquiries,” says Nichole Johnson, who owns Prolific Cleaning.

Several Airbnb rentals are a lot cleaner thanks to Johnson. According to her, the hashtag that started a week ago has been a big help in giving her exposure.

“It’s 10 times as hard for a black woman because we have to push our foot in the door,” Johnson added.

The hashtag started as a way to stand against racism, provide resources to help the cause and amplify Black voices. Part of that includes supporting black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs.

Since last Tuesday, Johnson says she has doubled the number of contracts she has with property owners. Property owners, who she says, told her they are intentionally looking to do more business with Black companies.

“It’s phenomenal because we don’t have the same resources, I wasn’t raised into privilege. I didn’t have the same networking opportunities as others,” said Johnson.

Another business shining in the newfound spotlight is Hip Hop Smoothie in northwest Charlotte. It’s owned by Shamika Brooks and her husband Roberto.

“We’ve had some repeat customers within the last week or two that we didn’t have before,” Brooks confirmed.

Just as the name suggests, you can order drinks named after rap songs - so you are truly getting a taste of Hip Hop.

“They can actually get a good vibe while enjoying a good treat,” said Brooks.

By Shamika’s count, she’s now seeing triple the number of customers. On average she says she would get about 50 to 60 customers, now it’s up to at least 150. Partly, because of a hashtag that was started as the world demanded justice for George Floyd.

“I don’t like the circumstances that it brought for us to become visible to that point, but we definitely appreciate the fact that this movement has allowed us to get more eyes,” she added.

Shameika is hoping that this is not just a moment for her business, just something that’s given her smoothie shop momentum for continued success -- and so far, so good.

“It’s not just black people who are out here supporting us. It’s been Asians, it’s been Caucasians, we’ve seen a plethora of different ethnicities,” she said.

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