Skip to comments.Community effort Journalist launches directory for African American owned businesses (Atlanta)
Posted on 06/17/2011 12:27:17 PM PDT by Altura Ct.
When journalist and media consultant Gil Robertson first moved to Marietta from Los Angeles eight years ago, he found himself frustrated by not being able to find a African-American general physician.
Just like a female often feels more comfortable having a female gynecologist, many African-Americans like to have African-American doctors because you feel like they understand the health risks you both face as African-Americans, Robertson said. And there are other professions that culturally you may feel you have more in common with and will just naturally trust more if they share in your culture, like a lawyer or an insurance agent, and naturally, you want to support your own community.
So, over seven years later, Robertson decided to turn his and others frustrations into a solution in January with the development of Black Cobb Pages, an online directory of African American-owned businesses in Cobb.
The directory, which began six months ago and will be launched tomorrow in collaboration with the eighth-annual Juneteenth celebration on Saturday, will be free for consumers to use and browse, but businesses that want to participate will have to pay a fee.
So far, Robertson said he has 200 businesses registered through word-of-mouth marketing, and his ultimate goal is to reach 1,000 listings.
Its a simple solution that will connect consumers, Robertson said. Its not about excluding anyone, but rather to provide an economic muscle for these businesses to grow so they are able to invest more in Cobb County.
Don Johnson, a State Farm Insurance agent in east Cobb for 25 years and a member of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, said he is not only signed up as a business in the directory, but will also use the directory as a consumer.
When people want information, they want it immediately, Johnson said. People are busy, and today, they dont want to visit around to different agents and decide on whom they want. They dont want to wait, they want to find that business and go with it.
As an insurance agent, specifically, Johnson said having his name in the directory might appeal to those who do not otherwise have insurance.
It will provide information to them, specifically those who may have a lack of knowledge about insurance services, but then it is up to me to articulate the need for being insured, Johnson said. They wont do business with me just because Im black. But we tend to see life through a similar lens. Race is a factor. But a strong black Cobb makes a strong Cobb County and will help to further develop the business community overall.
According to the 2010 U.S. Census report, 25 percent of Cobb County residents or 177,020 out of 688,078 total residents are African-American. And of the 77,967 business firms listed in the county in 2007, nearly 19 percent, or 14,501 of those, were African Americanowned.
Robertson said the initiative is part of a 15-month campaign, which will also involve social networking and mobile applications. Robertson said he will also host four quarterly mixers once the website is launched Saturday, which will act as networking opportunities for African-American business owners in Cobb and feature guest speakers who can provide them with business guidance and advice.
Stephanie Thornton, a CPA and owner of Thornton Consultants out of Powder Springs, said the directory will create an identity for the African-American Cobb business community one that she said is very much needed right now.
It is very important to feel like you have things of your own, and can give back to the community and feel a sense of kinship, Thornton said. Ive signed up for it, and my fiancé owns a barber shop and he has also signed up for it. I think it will be very well used. Its not about trying to separate, but rather build a sense of community and help each other out.
Robertson said the costs of joining the directory which range from $100 to $700 per business, depending on the type of listing and amount of visibility will be used to simply maintain the website, and a portion of the proceeds will also be donated to local African-American churches.
Beginning tomorrow, those interested in the program can visit www.blackcobbpages.com or call (404) 909-8161 for more information.
Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal - Community effort Journalist launches directory for African American owned businesses
But if I were “more comfortable” with a white banker or an Asian doctor, I’d be a racist.
Racist, racist, racist.
“find a African-American general physician. “
Or a English Teacher
I’m OK with this. That’s the reason my doctor is an American-born, American educated, English as a first language white male who didn’t get his degree through affirmative action, which let’s face it, all black doctors do.
So a business directory of Caucasian-owned businesses would be okay for those of us who are “more comfortable” doing business with Caucasians?
“We demand inclusion and integration, while we actually RE-segregate and hypenate.”
No such thing as an African-American, Mexican-American, Irish-American, German-American or anything-American.
It’s just American or it’s not American. Period.
Perfectly OK statement, obvious in every way.
Just like a female often feels more comfortable having a female gynecologist, many whites like to have white doctors because you feel like they understand the health risks you both face as white Americans, David Duke said. And there are other professions that culturally you may feel you have more in common with and will just naturally trust more if they share in your culture, like a lawyer or an insurance agent, and naturally, you want to support your own community.
Yet the "Christian Yellow Pages" (found in a number of Southern Bible-belt communities) invariably draws heat from the leftist crowd.
Back from the turn of the 20th Century to about the early 1940s, generally voluntary segregation in the US could be seen in many small towns, with there being a black part of town.
Importantly, while there was a town government, there was also a “pecking order”, representing a “shadow government” in the black part of town. Often the leader of this shadow government was the undertaker, who was often the wealthiest and most respectable black leader. Number two would likely be the most popular reverend.
As such, the undertaker and his clique of the wealthier blacks would have direct dealings with the white elected town officials, acting as liaisons to the black community, which functioned to some extent to let the white leaders know if there were problems in the black area, be they infrastructure or social.
Not all blacks were equal. Local residents all knew each other, and word got around if a transient black of low character had arrived in the black part of town. He would be encouraged to leave. Respectable new arrivals would be welcomed and accepted as usual.
However, with the onset of the Great Depression and World War II, this segregation quickly broke down outside of the deep South. The end of the war with grand demographic shifts from rural to urban living erased it from most of the US. That it survived into the 1960s in the deep South was an increasingly uncomfortable anomaly.
I mention all of this as background to how a black community organization can work. The author has the first part down right, but it must be eventually associated with a “better business” rating, if it is to succeed in the long run.
That is, just because it is black run does not mean that it is better, either in comparison to white run businesses, or to other black run businesses. It must swim or sink on its own merits, the quality of the goods and services it provides.
If it is a good business, honest and fair, and sells a good product or service, it deserves the extra support of the black community if they like it, and are willing to support it. But if it isn’t, just being black run isn’t enough.
Thank you, but I think I’ll just wait for the “White Owned Business Directory” to be published.
Demand parity... BUT refuse to assimilate.
How many different ways can you have it?
Businesses should be rated by customer service and the quality of the product or service.
If this offends then it offends, but most of these so-called black businesses will give you poor customer service, and a lesser quality product or service. Check out MalaniKai's talk radio show called "Dare to Speak Your Mind". This black lady tells it like it is. She did a show about her personal experience dealing with black businesses. It is spot on. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NW9snKx054
Now he’s got a God-given right to discriminate and I support that, but Buy Black programs are racist.
I have a limp and Grave’s disease as do all the professionals I deal with and the business owners I patronize.
No limp, no bulging eyes, no money. Not from me, ever, ever, ever. I don’t care what color you are.
Money’s green. The only way segregation can be or ever has been enforced is by government.
There is voluntary segregation, which happens all the time. The good kind of segregation is being attracted to a group of people like you, instead of repelled by another group because they are different.
No difference. People like to be around people like them.