Highlighting local, black-owned businesses on Juneteenth
BENTON HARBOR, Mich. -- As the Black Lives Matter movement continues to pick up steam, there’s also spotlight being put on black-owned businesses.
Two Benton Harbor businesses, Healthy Harbor and Renaissance Athletic Club, say the support from communities throughout Southwest Michigan has been paramount
“What’s really different in this climate is there’s an awareness of things that are happening,” said Sean Todman, the owner of Renaissance Athletic Club.
Todman started Renaissance Athletic Club eight years ago and comes from an entrepreneurial background.
“My great-grandfather had a pharmaceutical practice in 1930 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which was pretty rare in those days,” said Todman. “And my other grandfather was actually the first African American to work in the state department and was part of desegregating the cafeteria.”
Todman says he has all types of people, from all over Berrien County as customers and that’s what makes the difference.
“It would be great to see every business, especially black owned businesses, get the same support that I’ve seen because it can make a huge difference,” said Todman.
At Healthy Harbor, their nutritional shop is owned by multiple partners, most of whom are black women. And they say it’s important for people to know where the black-owned businesses are so they can support.
“We all need to come together to show that we stick together. That’s the whole point in doing Juneteenth,” said Janita Harris-Rhodes, a co-partner at Healthy Harbor.
While the commemoration of Juneteenth is nothing new, Rhodes hopes celebrations continue to get bigger after this year.
“I don’t think it’s something that should just be celebrated now because of what’s going on, I think every year Juneteenth should be super huge just like the Fourth of July.”