Black female enterprise proprietor gets raise from new grant | Business

Inflation on best of the pandemic approximately produced a excellent storm for Caveman Haircuts. Owner Stephanie Armstrong suggests shopper uncertainty, staffing shortages and declining wallet share have caused her fledgling northeast Columbia business enterprise to wrestle in the latest many years. But assist weathering that storm arrived lately in the kind of a $5,000 grant from the Coalition to Back again Black Corporations.

Armstrong is one particular of five Black tiny small business owners in the Midlands and 324 nationwide to obtain a piece of the $1.62 million pie the Coalition served up this yr to feed the demands of corporations impacted by the pandemic and assistance their extended-term progress. The Coalition is a multiyear grantmaking and mentorship initiative set up by American Convey and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Since its start in 2020, the Coalition has awarded additional than $8.1 million in grant pounds to additional than 1,400 Black-owned little companies. Grant recipients also can take edge of long-term mentorship and on-line resources.

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Armstrong claims she’s employing her grant to fork out rent, utilities and other expenditures to continue to keep her shop running.

“Business has slowed down given that COVID,” Armstrong claims. “Some consumers had been unwilling to come back into a salon, and some buyers who experienced been coming weekly turned into just about every two or a few months.” She claims she’s also seeking to rebuild personnel shed all through the pandemic. She now runs the business by herself with just just one other stylist.

The business hiccup arrived just a several a long time following Armstrong founded Caveman Haircuts in 2016 to meet up with a need to have she noticed all around her — together with in her own household.

“The identify was motivated by my brother,” she claims with a laugh. “Most men do not understand they are strolling about looking like a caveman, with hair developing out of their ears and anything.”

Armstrong delivers approximately 20 many years of specialist cosmetology, haircutting and barbering expertise to the business enterprise. While it began out catering to men’s haircut and grooming desires, particularly for the armed service local community at nearby Fort Jackson, the company has expanded to involve providers for ladies and small children as nicely as a product line for thinning hair.

“We’re not just a barbershop, we’re a family members,” Armstrong says.

Other regional compact organization proprietors to obtain Coalition grants incorporate:

  • Vonquintella Golson of JMG Transport, a nearby transporter of goods that mentors motorists to grow to be operator-operators.
  • Carmen Young of One Forty Logistics, a assistance-primarily based logistics and cell software improvement business.
  • Danika Parker of Danika Parker Insurance policy Providers, which assists men and women in all 50 states get wellness, life and Medicare Advantage coverage.
  • Jessica Grant of Blush Salon, a local retail shop element of the Branded Attractiveness Co., which provides coaching a methods to elevate women of all ages in their manufacturer, earnings and effects.

The Coalition is portion of American Express’ ongoing ‘Backing Small’ grant initiative and ‘Backing Change’ dedication to supplying economically susceptible and minority-owned modest enterprises with fiscal guidance and other sources to handle their crucial desires and issues.


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