Cameron Cook

Recent Articles

What does the Minnesota Black Chamber of Commerce do for Black business?

Many Black business owners are not sure
 
By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

The overarching question of the MSR multi-part series on local Black businesses is, “Do Blacks support each other?” During our interviews with many local Black business owners, they told us that they are not members of the Minnesota Black Chamber of Commerce (MBCC), which describes itself as “an alliance of business leaders and entrepreneurs” whose main vision “is to promote and improve the general welfare, prosperity and inter-connectedness of the community of African descent.”

Avenue Eatery Owner Sammy McDowell said he knows about the chamber but is not a member: “I don’t know what it is all about.”

“If I see what it is…if it’s something good for us to be in, I wouldn’t have no problems at all [being a member],” said South Minneapolis barber Cameron Cook. “Why I am not a member? I don’t know. I don’t have an excuse,” responded computer store owner Eugene Banks. “There are a lot of organizations that I am not a part of that I should be a part of. Continue Reading →

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Malls and misconceptions: Black-owned businesses face unique challenges

Second in a series 
 
By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

Black-owned businesses in Minnesota have grown steadily over a 20-year span. According to the U.S. Economic Census taken every five years, there were 4,024 Black businesses in 1997; then the number grew to 7,837. The latest count, based on the 2007 census, tallied 12,454 Black-owned businesses in the state. Updated information based on the 2012 census will be released later this fall. However, percentage-wise, Black businesses only make up 2.5 percent of all Minnesota businesses, and just over five percent of all businesses in Hennepin County — nationwide, 13 percent of all U.S. businesses are Black owned. Continue Reading →

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Many unaware of Park Board’s huge impact on inner-city youth

Candidates of color encouraged to run for commissioner seats
 
News Analysis

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

The public positions on this November fifth’s Minneapolis municipal ballot to which candidates will be seeking election will include the mayor, 13 city council seats, and two seats on the Board of Estimate and Taxation. All nine Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) seats are on the ballot as well. The MSR recently randomly asked a few of our man-in-the-barbershop sources the following question: “What do you know about the Park Board, including the election of its commissioners?” Here’s what we heard. “Who are the commissioners? Where are they from?” asked Cameron Cook, 36. Continue Reading →

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Obamacare ‘has something to do with Obama’

 
Beyond that, many folks are clueless how the new  insurance law affects them
 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

An April Kaiser Family Foundation survey found many Americans are either unsure or still confused about the Affordable Care Act (ACA). At least half of respondents say they don’t have enough information about the federal healthcare law, “ObamaCare,” passed in 2010, to understand what it will do for them and/or their families. The MSR recently visited one of the community’s traditional places where people talk — the barber shop — to get first-person opinions on the ACA. We asked two questions; the first was, “Do you know what the ACA is all about?”

A professional football player said he didn’t want to know anything about the ACA. “I know it has something to do with Obama,” said a male patron who was in a hurry. Continue Reading →

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How big is ‘small’? New minority business center focuses on million-dollar-plus companies

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

An October 2010 City of Minneapolis report concluded that locally owned Black small businesses face “particularly acute” discrimination when seeking loans. They often are denied, and if they are approved they are subject to higher interest rates than other applicants by financial institutions, the report added. “One of the biggest obstacles for people of color is limited access to capital,” states Metropolitan Economic Development Association (MEDA) Executive Director Yvonne Cheung Ho. She adds that the current economic climate in the country has been “very challenging for small businesses and minority businesses.”

Access to capital “is a typical problem for all small businesses, not just Black businesses,” says local business owner Eugene Banks. MEDA in November opened the Minority Business Development Agency’s (MBDA) Business Center in Minneapolis. Continue Reading →

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