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Blackout Day supports Black-owned businesses

(WCAX)
Published: Jul. 7, 2020 at 3:14 PM EDT
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Today is Blackout Day, a day when Black people and supporters are encouraged to spend their money at Black-owned businesses. At the same time, there has been a movement on social media to support Black-owned businesses, and many companies have seen a boost in sales.

From making wine to filling orders, it's a busy time for J. Moss Winery in Napa Valley, California.

"We're getting so many emails requesting tastings that we have to turn some down because we can't do it all," owner and winemaker James Moss said.

Sales are up 200%.

As part of the Black Lives Matter movement, social media influencers are encouraging people to spend their money at Black-owned businesses.

"Once people try our wines, they realize this is amazing wine," Moss said.

Theodora Lee of Theopolis Vineyards has also seen a surge. Online sales for her wine have quadrupled.

"We gotta keep that momentum, we gotta let everybody know," she said. "And most of all, if you drink our wine, and you like our wine, take to social media and tell them it's good."

It's not just social media making a difference. Google says searches for "Black-owned businesses near me" hit an all-time high in June. Yelp changed its search function, making it easier to find companies that are Black-owned.

The support is critical during the pandemic. A recent study from the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research found Black business ownership dropped 41% from February to mid-April. That's compared to a 17% decrease in White business ownership.

"The question for me is whether this commitment to Black-owned wineries is sustainable," Lee said.

Sean Hallman of Shadow Ridge Spirits Company is one of only a few Black-owned whiskey companies in California.

"Our sales have increased 100%," he said. "We're just part of the community, we just want to add to the community, and make the community better."

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