DENVER (CBS4)– The COVID-19 shutdown has affected Black businesses disproportionately just like the disease has disproportionately affected the Black community. That means many are relying on community support to stay afloat.
Ryan Cobbins has owned Coffee at The Point for 10 years and he says it hasn’t always been easy.
“I’m envious of all the hair people have because, as you see, mine is glazed over,” Cobbins says as he rubs his bald head.
He survived the great recession and now he is navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. He knows that community support is the greatest way to keep his doors open.
“Black people in general are looking for ways on how we can support each other recognizing that there is a little bit of a handicap when it comes to small business owners in and of themselves but then black small business owners.”
That’s the reason why Ramond Murphy and Mariam Kazadi decided to work together to create the BBLK (pronounced black) app. It’s a free app for your smartphone that helps you locate Black-owned businesses to support.
“We wanted to just create a space where these businesses can be found,” says Ramond.
They say they came up with the idea three months ago after witnessing how the pandemic effected the Black community and the growing desire people have to support Black-owned businesses.
“The climate inspired the app itself because we saw that there was not only a need for visibility but we didn’t have that space,” says Mariam.
For Ryan it’s just one of the tools in his toolbox he uses to get his business exposure. Which he says he needs to keep selling coffee in Five Points.
“Every little bit makes a difference for us,” he says.