Eugene Banks

Recent Articles

Building the ‘Buy Black’ movement in Minnesota

Local entrepreneurs discuss challenges, offer solutions
 
News Analysis

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

The idea for the recent MSR multi-part Black business series first came last year during a conversation with Twin Cities Black Film Festival Founder-Director Natalie Morrow. She decried the seemingly low support from Blacks for such annual events as hers. MSR Editor-in-Chief Vickie Evans Nash later agreed with Morrow’s assertion and assigned me to investigate and report on how true or not true it is. Over the course of several months, after causal and on-record conversations with several local Black business owners, we produced the series beginning in late September. Rather than ask about how financially successful these business persons are, the MSR instead inquired why they chose to start their own businesses, any unforeseen obstacles they may have faced and overcome, new challenges they currently face, and what advice and tips they might offer to anyone who might be thinking of becoming a business owner. Continue Reading →

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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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