CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Across the nation, many people are celebrating Black Business week.
LaToya Rodriquez is the owner of Rose Soiree. She said that she is like any other Black entrepreneur, she loves her business, but she is facing significant challenges as she strives to build and sustain her floral shop.
“It is honesty rather tough being a business owner in the Coastal Bend in general, not just as a minority,” Rodriguez said. “There is a lot of preconceived notions about someone owning a business is rich or they have it all.”
She believes that lack of support for Black businesses doesn't just affect individual entrepreneurs. It also has economic implications by playing a vital role in local communities, providing jobs, and contributing to economic growth.
"When you call 1-800 companies for flowers, they’re not here. They’re not in our community,” she said. “They’re not going to your son’s baseball game or supporting your daughters dance team. The small businesses like mine are.”
Phil Dennis is a small business attorney. He said that Black businesses have trouble getting funds to support their businesses.
“They don’t have the finance, that's the first thing,” Dennis said. “They don’t have the real finance, they come out of pocket. So, that means that they don’t have the backup when things like COVID happens or when the down times do come, they don’t have the finance to keep running.”
However, Rodriquez said that Black business owners emphasize the need for support from the community.
"Being a small business owner, my paycheck is never guaranteed, I don't have a paycheck,” she said. “My paycheck walks in that door and buys flowers, so when people don't walk in the door it's really hard, it's really a struggle to make sure that we can make ends meet."