It’s no secret small businesses have taken a hit, but what’s been even harder is business for Black, Indigenous and People of Color.
Burlington small businesses and nonprofits owned by People of Color will soon receive grants up to $7,000 from the city. Director of Racial Equity, Inclusion and Belonging, Tyeastia Green said even before the pandemic, BIPOC businesses have had a hard time.
“I wanted to make sure that those businesses were still here once COVID-19 lifts from over us, and make sure that they are thriving and that they are able to survive,” Green said.
She believes this stems from systemic racism and this is why it’s so hard on them not just in these times but all the time.
“Being a small businesses owner is hard regardless of your race, but being a small business owner and your Black, Indignous, or your a Person of Color it’s especially hard to get above water,” Green said.
The money will go to 26 businesses that applied.
Mixed market has been open for two years. The store sells asian foods and products. Suk Rai is the owner of the store and said it has been very difficult because of the pandemic.
“I have to come here for work, because of the virus, it is very hard to recognize people and communicate with people,” Rai said.
Rai is getting help from the city through grants and he applied to the most recent one.
“I am feeling so bad, it’s hard to do anything like for the businesses like us, I have a small business having a lot of big problems right now,” Rai said.
Rai allows up to six people in the store at a time and he provides them with rubber gloves that he purchases on his own, but he is still concerned for the health of his family.
“When I go home I feel a little scared because I stay at the store and communicate with different kinds of people,” Rai said.
If you are interested in visiting his store, you must call ahead of time.