Minority-owned family businesses seek wealth-building, representation for future generations – MiBiz: West Michigan Business News
When Jermale and Anissa Eddie opened Malamiah Juice Bar LLC in 2013, the couple aimed to be role models not just for their three sons, but also for the rest of the Black and brown community.
Malamiah Juice Bar was the only Black-owned business at Grand Rapids’ Downtown Market for six years, and one of just a handful in the entire downtown area, Jermale Eddie told MiBiz. The company’s presence in those years reflected national trends, as only about 18 percent of U.S. businesses are minority-owned.
Meanwhile, businesses owned by people of color were more likely to shutter during the pandemic compared to white-owned businesses, according to a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The number of active Black business owners fell by 41 percent by the end of April 2020, while Latinx business owners dropped by 32 percent and Asian business owners dropped by 26 percent.
As the pandemic whittles away the already disproportionate number of businesses owned by people of color, the Eddie’s have worked hard to keep their business afloat. Maintaining a downtown storefront is crucial to show representation for other entrepreneurs of color looking to start a business, Jermale Eddie said.
Keeping the business within the family is also a key aspect of the Eddie’s succession plan.
“We definitely hope that we have a legacy of this business to pass on to our children,” he said. “More than that, it’s the idea of having something tangible to pass on. We say our children, but within our household there are kids out there that we consider our children or our community’s children — the Black and brown youth who can look up to someone and say, ‘I see a Black entrepreneur who looks like me.’”
Nate Phillips, business liaison for the recently formed Black Minority Business Council at the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, has heard from business owners with similar goals of passing their company on to the next generation.
“That is very much instilled in a lot of these small and Black-owned businesses,” Phillips said. “Many I’m talking to seem like they are right at the startup level and have been around a couple years. They are coming into that legacy- and wealth-building stage.”