Free online advertising for black owned businesses

Free online advertising for black owned businesses

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As a small business, there’s nothing better than free online advertising. In the digital age, there are a variety of platforms to help you spread the word about your business, but you have to start by getting yourself online. Search engines are a common starting point for consumers, and as a business owner, being knowledgeable about free ways to help your business appear more often in local searches will bring you more visibility and business.

We’ve compiled a list of seven free online advertising opportunities that any small business can take advantage of. Each of these free online advertising tricks will get you in front of potential customers and help you to be more relevant in local search.

1. Claim and complete your business listings

In addition to ensuring that all of your business information is accurate on your own website, be sure all of your online business listings are claimed and complete. A Yelp Business Page is free to set up and is a great way to spread the word about your business. Not only do many consumers use the Yelp app to search for great local businesses, but the business information that you add to your Yelp Page—such as hours, website, etc.—is typically pushed through to Yelp partners.

You can also sign up for Yelp Ads, which prominently places your business listing throughout the Yelp site. This no-contract, no-commitment advertising campaign allows you to choose your own budget and pause/cancel whenever you like. Many businesses are eligible for a free Yelp Ads credit if they haven’t tried ads before. Just sign in to your Yelp for Business account and click the Yelp Ads tab, or contact a representative to determine your eligibility.


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2. Search engine optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization, or SEO, can sound like a complicated process, but it doesn’t have to be. With knowledge of a few basic tools you can begin to move the needle and increase the virtual presence of your business. This guide to small business SEO is a great place to start.

Once you begin to understand the basics of keywords and search engines, you can apply that SEO knowledge to other sites, like your online listings. Having complete profiles is important, and ensuring that those profiles are rich with keywords and phrases that describe what you do will help to increase your visibility.

3. Get into blogging

Blogging is a great way to spread the word about your business and establish you as an expert in whatever vertical you operate. Consider a few topics that are relevant to your offerings, and produce a few informative articles to show others that you have diverse experience and expertise in your field. If you’re not sure where to start, do a few searches and see what content already exists.

Consider common issues or challenges that your customers are faced with. What insights can you provide to help them in their time of need? Just because you provide knowledge and information online doesn’t mean that you’re going to be giving the secret sauce away to your customers for free, but it establishes you as a credible source at the exact time they need it.

If creating your own blog content seems like an overwhelming task, consider doing a guest post on someone else’s blog. You can search for blogs relevant to your industry, and look up trade publications to see if they accept contributed content. Most magazines, industry publications, and websites look for contributors, so reach out and see if they’d be interested. And remember to always create a backlink that takes people to your work.

4. Email marketing

Email marketing is a great way to promote content, share business-related news, reengage your customers, and build deeper relationships. Your email list is a captive audience, and connecting with them to provide updates and information is a great way to create transactions and even reach out to new, potential customers. Get creative and have some fun with your messaging. Include vibrant images of your business and your goods or services. You can provide offers or deals and encourage that network to spread the word to their family and friends.

Creating frequency with your emails can help keep you top of mind. A scheduled email newsletter is a great way to stay connected with your customers over time and allows you to capture their attention at a specific time with a specific message. This also helps your goods or services stay top of mind between actual customer contact points. Just be aware of overcommunicating; you don’t want to come off as spammy. If your business provides services that most customers take advantage of annually, a monthly newsletter may be too frequent and you should perhaps consider sending every six months. Adjust your cadence based on your customers and the things they need from your business.

5. Develop a social media presence

Social media is free advertising, and it provides an opportunity for you to develop your brand in an engaging way. Having a consistent message of who you are across all of your social platforms helps create connections with consumers looking for the goods or services you provide.

Whether it’s a Facebook business page, an Instagram, or a Snapchat account, you want to visually express who you are as a small business. Include images with engaging and descriptive captions to highlight what you’re showing. Be authentic, and show what’s going on behind the scenes. Video footage is very engaging and will often get increased visibility. What sets you apart from your competitors? How can you show that visually? Having a social media strategy can be valuable in growing your community and increasing new customers.

6. Creative YouTube videos

YouTube has more than two billion active users, and video content is a great way to entertain and engage potential customers. People are much more likely to watch a short video than read a long-form article, and they’re also most likely to share videos. Creating engaging and informative content is a great way to sell your brand and spread awareness for what you do.

Creating YouTube content is similar to blogging in that you’ll want to continue to publish things over time. Consider creating a YouTube channel where you can cover everything from who you are and why you got into business to expert advice for your industry.

7. Partnerships with other businesses

Digital partnerships are a great way to expand your network and spread the word about a good or service you provide. Consider other business owners or brands who would make good collaboration partners—people with strong social media followings, businesses in similar or cross-functional areas, and industry experts who you admire or respect.

Partnerships and collaborations allow small businesses to spread the word about who they are and what they do beyond their immediate and existing customer base. Simply tagging another local business in a social media post, or asking them to join you on a Youtube episode can help increase the number of eyeballs who are seeing what you have to offer.


Fifth Virginia Casino Could Be In The Cards, But Richmond Voters Still Divided – Virginia Mercury

By Kofi Mframa / Capital News Service

Virginia could have its fifth casino if a local referendum passes in November, though Richmond voters rejected it the first time.

The proposal would extend casino gambling into central Virginia. There are two casinos open in the southern and southwest parts of the state. One casino is operational in eastern Virginia, with one more slated to open next year.

The Richmond Grand Resort and Casino is a $562 million proposal by Black-owned multimedia conglomerate Urban One and new partner Churchill Downs.

Richmond voters rejected the first proposal backed by Urban One in November 2021, but on a snug margin of under 1,500 votes. There was overwhelming support in the 8th and 9th Districts where the casino would be located. Voters in the 3rd, 6th and 7th Districts showed support for the project. There was strong disapproval in the other four districts.

Richmond is not the first city to find itself in this debate. There was initial concern from local residents before a casino opened in Danville, according to City Manager Ken Larkin. The casino helped buffer some of the city’s industry losses, and “the economic benefits won the day,” Larkin told WRAL.

Casino opposition in Richmond has reignited while project leaders have expanded their strategic approach to sway voters.

Developers have plenty of funding for outreach, with over $8 million tucked into a pro-casino committee. Opponents have raised far less, similar to 2021, but have maintained an influential message.

The developers hope to convince voters that the casino could benefit Southside and Richmond. They see it as more than just a casino and promise an array of extras that includes a 55-acre greenspace, luxury spa and concert venue.

The city would receive an initial $25 million payment if the referendum passes, and city leaders have also stated that the project would not cost taxpayers. The development would create 1,300 jobs and offer a “pathway into the middle class,” according to Michael Kelly, spokesperson for the Urban One project.

“It’s going to generate $30 million of annual revenue for the city to invest in city priorities like childhood education,” Kelly said. “It’s also going to do a lot to improve Southside, an area that needs investment and wants investment.”

Not everyone is convinced the casino will solve Southside’s economic woes. Allan-Charles Chipman, a previous Richmond City Council candidate, thinks public officials and developers have exaggerated the casino’s potential benefits.

“Casinos are not proven to help decrease economic wealth gaps,” Chipman said. “If anything, they’ve been shown to worsen them.”

The City Council vote to put a referendum back on the ballot drew public ire and an ongoing lawsuit.

Richmond Lodge No. 1 of the Good Lions, Inc., a Southside-based organization that raises money through charitable gaming, filed a lawsuit claiming Council violated the state constitution by not allowing a complete public bidding process.

 The court rejected the lawsuit on the grounds that Good Lions failed to properly challenge the constitutionality of the bidding process. They also failed to prove any harm to their operations if the referendum were to pass.

“It’s sort of circular logic because, first of all, we weren’t a potential bidder because it was a no-bid contract — nobody was a potential bidder,” said attorney and Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax, who represented the Good Lions. “We’re a business in the City of Richmond, we should have as much standing as anybody else.”

The Good Lions filed an appeal to the ruling last week, according to a Virginia Business report. It is unknown if the appeal would be heard before Election Day, but early voting is already underway.

Churchill Downs representative Adisa Muse and 8th District Councilmember Reva Trammell recently hosted a district-wide meeting to inform voters about the casino and address concerns.

People voiced apprehension, but many were in support.

One attendee questioned how developers can promise a $55,000 annual salary, when local gaming parlor salaries start at around $30,000. Gaming parlors don’t have table games or generate the same cash as a casino.

The take home salary alone would likely not be $55,000. The proposed compensation touted by developers is a package that includes wages, tips and benefits. The minimum pay for tipped and non-tipped employees would be $15 per hour, according to city documents.

Another attendee was worried the new casino would increase property taxes. Muse said the project will not raise taxes and will generate revenue for the entire city.

“Lowering real estate taxes was a conversation in 2021,” Muse said. “Right now we have the ability to provide more funding for infrastructure through the series of taxes that are being collected through this development.”

Tax revenue promises didn’t sway enough city voters in 2021, according to data by the Virginia Public Access Project. Urban One and Churchill Downs are now primarily targeting voters in the 8th and 9th Districts to drive turnout.

“We can go to some of the other areas of the city, when they find out about this, they get completely antagonistic to what we’re doing,” Muse said. “So we have to be very focused, we have to be very targeted and that means that we’re not hitting doors as massively in other parts of Richmond.”

It didn’t pass in any predominantly white precinct and it passed in most predominantly African American precincts.

– Richmond Councilmember Michael Jones

One reason the previous proposal failed to pass was confusion on the location, according to 9th District Councilmember Michael Jones. He also noted a racial divide in Southside voting patterns.

“It didn’t pass in any predominantly white precinct and it passed in most predominantly African American precincts,” he said. “What went on there, what wasn’t communicated, that something became racially divisive?”

Jones believes some white voters took a moral stance against the casino.

“As an African-American male, I have a problem hearing white people say ‘this is not good for Black people, this is not good for poor people,’” Jones said. “That’s a very paternalistic view and perspective.”

Developers like to highlight the variety of all-ages entertainment that the casino would offer — from dining to outdoor recreation to gaming. Urban One is primarily a media broadcasting company. It held stake in the MGM National Harbor Hotel & Casino in Maryland, but cashed out earlier this year, according to multiple reports.

“Richmond Grand is going to be a real attractive place for folks to come and visit for any number of activities,” project spokesperson Kelly said.

The casino’s location near Interstate 95 will make it easy to attract visitors from outside the region and generate revenue that can be reinvested into the city, according to Kelly.

Still, Chipman, and other vocal opponents, believe there are better ways to fund Southside.

 “Like [Sen.] Tim Kaine said the first time, there are more equitable ways to develop Southside,” Chipman said. “I don’t feel good that developers go to the bargaining table, but somehow Southside has to go to the blackjack table.”

Voters can cast an early ballot in-person at their local registrar’s office beginning 45 days before Election Day. To vote by mail, download and complete the absentee application form available on the Virginia Department of Elections website. A mail-in ballot must be postmarked on or before Election Day and be received by the general registrar’s office by noon on Friday, Nov. 10.

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Data From The Small Business Administration Shows Major Increase In Loans To Black-Owned Businesses

The SBA says the growth reduces lending disparities and will help reach more underserved communities.

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — The Small Business Administration has been helping power small, local businesses, in the Carolinas and across the country.

New data from the SBA shows a major increase in loans to Black-owned businesses is creating more opportunities.

“It’s relatively phenomenal growth,” Michael Arriola with the SBA said.

Since 2020 the number of loans to minority-owned businesses has more than doubled, going from 3.5% to 7.5%.

WCNC Charlotte is always asking “where’s the money?” If you need help, reach out to WCNC Charlotte by emailing

Arriola said the growth is not only promising for Black entrepreneurs, but it also breaks the cycle of generational poverty.

“We know that generational poverty transfers just as much as surely as generational wealth does,” Arriola said. “The SBA wants to do its part by equipping people with entrepreneur resources and maybe even capital to bridge that gap.”

He said when you bring money to an economically distressed area, it impacts families and has the power to shift a community by keeping money flowing within the area and bringing more jobs.

“Its your small businesses that are going to hiring locally and using local sources for their supplies and services which keeps cash flowing,” Arriola said.

The SBA said they’re also working to sign up more lenders and open up more Women’s Business Centers to make an even greater impact.

“We have women who also happen to be minorities, the SBA can make the biggest impact by equipping them with the resources and capital they need to sustain their own businesses,” he said.

He said its all in hopes of supporting small businesses with big dreams. 

More information about securing a loan for your small business can be found online.

Contact Tradesha Woodard at and follow her on FacebookX and Instagram.

WCNC Charlotte’s Where’s The Money series is all about leveling the playing in the Carolinas by helping others and breaking down barriers. WCNC Charlotte doesn’t want our viewers to be taken advantage of, so we’re here to help. Watch previous stories where we ask the question “Where’s the Money” in the YouTube playlist below and subscribe to get updated when new videos are uploaded.


Frankie Faison’s Next Act? A Granola Business – Dallas Weekly

Credit: Frankie Faison

By Bria Overs

Originally appeared in Word in Black

He’s a familiar face on television and movie screens. You may know him as Commissioner Ervin Burrell in “The Wire,” Head Orderly Barney Matthews in “Hannibal,” Chief Elliott Gordan in “White Chicks,” or even Prince Akeem’s New York City landlord from “Coming to America.”

But those are just characters. The man behind these memorable performances is Frankie Faison, an award-winning actor of nearly 50 years with over 130 credits.

While he knows his on-screen roles are why you’ll recognize him, what Faison, 74, wants you to know him for is his newest project: Fabulous Frankie’s Original Granola.

“I used to love oatmeal and cereals, like Frosted Flakes, Cheerios, and Cornflakes, but I loved granola because it was different,” he says. “But something was missing in every bag I ate, and I very quickly got bored with it.”

Granola Is Big Business

With competition like General Mills, PepsiCo, Quaker Oats, and Aldi, standing out in the granola market may be Faison’s next challenge.

According to Canada’s Agriculture and Agri-Food Department, these giants helped generate an estimated $637.1 million in 2019 from their variety of granola products.

Before the pandemic, the department estimated a compound annual growth rate of 8.6% for the industry.

He’s not the only Black-owned granola brand out there. There are brands like Oh-Mazing, Flatbush Granola Company, and Soul Grain Granola.

Despite the steep competition, Faison knows he has something special. Before exploring a business venture, Faison spent years making granola as a beloved hobby. He’s given away hundreds of bags on sets, while traveling, and to visitors.

Faison was introduced to a granola recipe by a friend, and his wife, Samantha, has played a significant role in making his granola what it is today. With a background as a professional cook and bakery owner, she helped him master how to maintain the crunchiness of the granola.

He perfected his recipe over time, creating the granola from mostly organic foods. It’s also nut-free, gluten-free, and vegan, featuring cranberries, cherries, raisins, pumpkin seeds, coconut flakes, and maple syrup.

“The thing about granola that’s most important to me is how it holds its crispiness,” he says. Whether eating it plain and even when it’s put in “milk or ice cream.”

Samantha is also helping Frankie run and grow his granola business. This includes making it available in the two businesses she runs in Montclair, New Jersey: The Pie Store and The Tea Store.

“We put it [in the store], and it started flying off the shelves,” Faison says. “People loved it. And they kept coming back for more. They couldn’t get enough, and we couldn’t stock it up fast enough.”

Small Business Challenges

The Faison’s are still in a pre-launch phase with preparations to accept pre-orders online in the coming weeks and months, partly because of the difficulties of starting a business.

There are rules for launching a food product. And finding a way to produce it without compromising the quality is a top priority and their biggest challenge.

“I want this product to grow into something people will find, and it will bring a smile to their faces,” Frankie says.

“They can say, ‘This is something that this man believed in, he put it out there, he made it with love, he wanted to share it with the world, and he has done that.’”


In the meantime, the ongoing strikes in Hollywood pushed Frankie to think of how he could use something he loves to help the community he loves. So, for every bag sold, Faison plans to donate $1 to the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) Foundation.

Frankie hopes you’ll add his fabulous and original granola to the list of things you remember him for.


GR Competition Aims To Uplift Black-Owned Businesses

GR competition aims to uplift Black-owned businesses

by: Amanda Porter



by: Amanda Porter



GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Local small business owners faced off in a pitch competition for thousands of dollars Thursday night with the West Michigan Small Business Development Center. 

The competition was held at GVSU’s Richard M. DeVos Center. Pitch Black Grand Rapids was aimed toward uplifting Black-owned businesses.

Seven finalists pitched their business plans to a panel of judges for cash prizes. 

The West Michigan SBDC regional director Ed Garner said the pitch competition is one of the first of its kind for businesses in Grand Rapids.

“We are giving them a little money, but really the training they got was instrumental. Six weeks of pitch training that they can take that and use anywhere in the future,” explained Garner.

The winner received $5,000 to help scale their business. The runner-up won $3,500 and third place took home $1,500.

Building West Michigan

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Chris Brown Facing $2M Lawsuit For Unsettled Popeyes Chicken Franchise Loan

Singer Chris Brown, known for his share of controversies over the years, is now facing some serious financial trouble. He is now being sued by City National Bank after taking out a huge loan to buy 2 Popeyes Chicken franchises and has not yet paid back.

According to legal documents obtained by The Blast, City National Bank claims Brown owes them a whopping $2,140,901, which includes the principal amount and interest. This loan dates back to 2018, and despite the bank’s efforts, the money remains unpaid.

Initially, the lawsuit was filed in Georgia, where the courts ruled in favor of the bank. Now, the battle has shifted to Los Angeles, where Brown resides.

Even though there are others listed as borrowers in the lawsuit, including Grammy Award-winning producer The Dream, the bank made it clear in the documents that Chris Brown is the one personally responsible for repaying the loan.


Inside Juliet: The Black-Owned Speakeasy In Houston Serving 24K Gold Steak – Travel Noire

Juliet is a Black-owned Speakeasy in Houston that’s doing more than serving cocktails behind what appears to be a movie theater. While most speakeasies are known for their signature cocktails behind hidden doors, Houston’s Juliet is known for its 24K gold Tomahawk steak.

“Not many people know this, but Juliet is a steakhouse,” owner Jamie Allen tells Travel Noire.

The golden steak is not the exception, but the standard of an unforgettable culinary experience Allen says people can expect during their visit.

“We have the best macaroni and cheese of any steakhouse,” Allen says. “I feel very confident saying that. If it’s not the best, it’s definitely the top three. Besides the phenomenal food, we have good service and, all around, a great atmosphere.”

Beyond the steaks, other signature items are the honey truffle chicken and the blackened salmon, usually paired with Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and its well-known macaroni and cheese. The macaroni and cheese can be served in several different ways. Guests can add bacon, truffle, or lobster or have it served as a trio with all three.

Photo Credit: Jamie Allen

A Speakeasy Inspired By World Travel

Juliet is not Allen’s first rodeo in the restaurant business, as he owns Candy Shack Daiquiris. He opened the speakeasy in 2021 to bring a different experience to Houston inspired by his travel adventures. 

“As I traveled worldwide, I came across a speakeasy concept in cities such as London, Dubai, and Los Angeles, but I only saw it in bars. I thought it would be really cool if we did it for a restaurant,” he says. “When you come inside, you’ll get a feel of L.A., New York City, London, Toronto, and Dubai. I put all my favorite restaurants into one and brought it into Juliet.”

Juliet is a collection of some of Allen’s favorite places regarding the design, atmosphere, and favorite food items from other steakhouses he visited worldwide. One key element he’s bringing to Juliet is the entertainment with music. 

“Here in Houston, the vibe at steakhouses is boring. The restaurants are playing elevator music, and the design is full of millwork and wood. Many are old school, and there’s nothing really hip and new about it. “

He adds, “Us millennials, we still love to go out and eat, and we love nice restaurants. I created a fine dining space for the millennial.”

Juliet is located at 5857 Westheimer Rd Suite P in Houston. Be sure to book reservations early, as seats inside fill up quickly on weekdays and weekends, especially for Brunch.

Photo Credit: Jamie Allen

10 Must Reads For Real Estate Investors To End The Week (Sept. 29, 2023)

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iStock/Getty Images

Preferred equity providers are increasingly looking to close financing gaps in the multifamily sector, according to Multi-Housing News. CoStar News looks into how the proliferation of AI is driving data center growth beyond their usual markets. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. ‘Record Collapse:’ New Report Shows Extent of Regional Bank Pullback in CRE Lending “In the months after three shocking bank failures, regional banks began a lending pullback of historic proportions — one that promises to continue. In the second quarter, regional banks accounted for 25% of all new commercial real estate loans worth at least $2.5 million, a 900-basis-point drop from the first quarter, according to data published Wednesday by capital markets research firm MSCI.” (Bisnow)
  2. Preferred Equity Is Pouring into Multifamily “As traditional lenders hold back on funds and leverage due to rising interest rates, regulatory pressures, and a higher perception of risk, multifamily sponsors are facing significant ‘gaps’ in financing, noted Jacob Feingold, a managing director at Canyon Partners Real Estate. That creates vast opportunities for investors to assist with construction loans, bridge loans, permanent financings and refinancings.” (Multi-Housing News)
  3. Las Vegas and its Big, Big Ambitions “Round-the-clock construction makes every excursion a dice roll with traffic, and these days everyone seems a loser. I turn right on Sands Avenue, just before the golden tower of the Wynn Las Vegas, and am so stunned by what I see that I join three dozen other cars illegally parked next to the crowded sidewalk. Some people are sitting on the concrete divider to gawk, camera phones pointed toward an otherworldly spectacle: a colossal eye seemingly the size of the Death Star staring down the street at us. The eye is so large and glaring that the neon-lit hotels and casinos are mere shadows.” (The New York Times)
  4. Six Questions on the $33B Signature Loan Portfolio “Tom Galli, a partner at Duane Morris, represented more bidders on loan portfolios sold by the FDIC than perhaps any other lawyer in this country.  He talked with about loan portfolio sales, including the $33 billion Signature real estate loan portfolio being marketed by the FDIC. Why should real estate industry participants pay attention to the Signature Bank loan portfolio transactions and other FDIC structured transactions if they otherwise have no interest in investing in them?” (
  5. ‘Wanting to See the Change:’ New Organization AEC Unites to Launch in Support of Black Talent in CRE “AEC Unites seeks to build more opportunities for Black talent and Black-owned businesses within these fields. Set to officially launch on Oct. 3 at an event in Washington, D.C., the organization will include 12 founding firms, including Gensler, Turner Construction Co. and McKissack & McKissack. ‘I think the good news is that we do have, especially in our industry, CEOs who do want to see this change,’ said AEC Unites Board Chair and President Deryl McKissack, president and CEO of DC-based AEC firm McKissack & McKissack.” (Bisnow)
  6. AI Drives Growth in Data Centers Beyond Usual Markets “Record demand for data center space is expected through the second half of this year and into 2024, according to a recent report from real estate firm JLL. But the trend, driven by the rapid adoption of artificial intelligence, is affecting local markets differently. Phoenix and Salt Lake City outpaced the largest data center market, Northern Virginia, as the leaders in demand for the first six months of 2023, JLL said. Data center property trends are assessed not by square footage but by megawatts, the standard unit for measuring their power handling capabilities. One megawatt is equivalent to 1 million watts, or the power output of about 10 car engines.” (CoStar News)
  7. Trump Real Estate Ruling Puts Scrutiny on the Subjectivity of Commercial Property Valuations “First off, there is no such thing as objective value; it would make a great book title. The Trump organization stands by its assessment of value because, well, who knows how much the Trump brand is worth (or at least was worth back then). They then defend what they are using to come to these valuations, the fixed assets approach. This is a valuation technique typically used for businesses, not real estate, and therefore explains how they got their numbers that were at times 700 percent more than the real estate appraisers estimated. All of these defenses might be valid, but I can certainly see it being hard to convince a judge or a jury.” (Propmodo)
  8. This California City Has More Warehouses Than People. Here’s How It’s Trying to Change. “In one of California’s smallest cities, heavy trucks rumble past the low-slung industrial buildings along Santa Fe Avenue, a major thoroughfare in the heart of Vernon. Instead of homes, shops and parks, gray warehouse structures with loading docks and parking lots dominate nearly every block in this city, four miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles. Industrial buildings outnumber full-time residents nearly four to one, according to CoStar data. But city officials hope to modify that industrial dominance, looking to quintuple the population and bring in millions of new investment dollars.” (CoStar News)
  9. Great Recession Was Turning Point for Region’s Housing Shortage, Report Says “The 2007-2008 mortgage crisis and subsequent recession marked a “clear demarcation” point for the tristate area’s severe housing shortage, according to a new report from the Regional Plan Association.” (Crain’s New York Business)
  10. Decades Later, Closed Military Bases Remain a Toxic Menace “At more than 1,000 sites within the closed bases, the land is so badly contaminated that no one will ever be allowed to live on it. Sites that were supposed to be clean were later found full of asbestos, radioactivity and other health threats. In most cases, fixing up the bases is costing far more than expected and taking longer, federal reports show. The Government Accountability Office found last year that the projected costs for closing the bases had escalated to $65 billion from $43 billion.” (The New York Times)


Black-Owned Restaurant Struggles To Pay More Than $100K In Damages Following Vandalism

Black woman-owned restaurant Winnie’s International Takeout is receiving no restitution for damages after a group of suspects described as “thugs” vandalized the location.

Twimonisha Mason, owner of the soul food restaurant in Massapequa, New York, has been hard at work trying to open the location since 2019, according to the GoFundMe page set up by Taisha Mason.

“For everyone wondering why we haven’t opened yet, we have been dealing with a few setbacks,” a statement read on Winnie’s Instagram page.

She has been unable to open because the restaurant was vandalized several times.

According to a GoFundMe page, the perpetrators left Twimonisha with over $100,000 in damages since she moved her business from its previous location in Long Island’s Amityville Village. To add to the issue, the store’s $2 million insurance policy only covered $5,000 worth of damages “due to a clause on page 87,” the fundraising page states. All other costs are coming out of the owner’s pocket.

Multiple videos have been posted to the restaurant’s social media page, including one that shows the young vandals’ parents, whose information was not released to Twimonisha by police.

“They refused to give us the parents’ information, so we couldn’t sue them either,” the fundraiser page included from the video’s Instagram caption.

The restaurant posted a video showing the dumpster crowded with debris from the vandalism at its Sunrise Highway location, including a tree stump allegedly dumped onto their property, another cost that had to be paid out of pocket. In the video, two young vandals are seen climbing from the restaurant’s roof.

The takeout restaurant has been hit before by intruders, which caused the owner to spend thousands of dollars on previous repairs.

“The fact that the first kids got off with just trespassing when they should have been charged with vandalism is the reason these thugs keep coming back time and time again,” the caption read.

Taisha launched the GoFundMe for Winnie’s International Takeout to collect funds for repairs and to keep the restaurant running as they work to “hire an attorney to fight Nassau County police department on the mishandling of the crimes against the store.”

The Mason family also claims members have been “stopped and harassed” by police over 15 times at the location. According to the Masons, they are beginning to feel like their lives are in danger but remain resilient in seeking justice.

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