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Indianapolis area sees increased support for black-owned businesses

Posted at 8:32 PM, Jun 11, 2020
and last updated 2021-01-06 10:07:53-05

INDIANAPOLIS — More people are seeking out and supporting black-owned businesses as protests continue calling for equality and changes to the way law enforcement interacts with the black community.

Pa & Ma's Backyard Barbecue opened a location at the corner of College and Fairfield avenues back in February but they've been a part of the Indianapolis community for more than 20 years.

The restaurant is a place families on the north side rely on for a healthy meal.

"We are known for good soul food," owner George Nelson said.

Nelson said there isn't a microwave in the building. The focus is on fresh, local food.

"There's not another healthy food place here where you can actually get fresh vegetables not fried food," Nelson said.

The business has received more attention recently as people chose to spend their money at black-owned businesses. It's something Nelson said he appreciates but there is more work to do.

"Police brutality has been going on for so long. I'm 52 years old, I've experienced it, I've seen it," Nelson said. "I think if we start really focusing on the police brutality and the access to capital for small black businesses, we can build our community."

On the south side at the Healthy Food Cafe, we met two women who were first-time customers.

"We saw a post about black-owned businesses and this was one of them and we were really close by so we decided to have some lunch," Morgan Wilson said.

"Being a minority myself, I think it's important for all of us to have solidarity with each other," Jenny Sullivan said. "We could have supported a chain, but we are supporting a bigger cause I think."

"I think it's amazing," Erica Bryant, owner of the Healthy Food Cafe, said. "I'm glad people are coming out and supporting, just giving us a chance so they can see that we have some really good products.'

At Pa & ma's, Nelson hopes the support of small, locally-owned black businesses continues long past this month.

"It really doesn't matter if you are black or white," Nelson said. "If you live in this community, we begin to rotate our money in our community."

So businesses like his can keep their doors open and continue serving families.