Group of minority business owners bond over common goals
D’IBERVILLE, Miss. (WLOX) - When Manling Burch started to develop her new business Rockin’ Chicken & Waffles last year, she didn’t know it would come with a support team — that is, other than her mom and boyfriend.
It came from line of businesses next door.
This strip mall is one of the most unique unplanned business incubators, and they all have one background in common.
“Really, we are all minority and woman-owned businesses,” said Burch, who was born and raised in Hong Kong.
That’s right. Every business in this strip mall is minority owned and operated, but it wasn’t planned. It was organic. It just happened.
And it’s proving that diversity is key to facing adversity head on.
The group initially bonded over a shared problem: the lack of traffic due to the Popp’s Ferry diversion project. Now, the relationships have become much more.
“We definitely grew into a family by seeing there was so much diversity in this small area,” said Tobias Wilson, owner of Snow Biz.
Wilson is kind of the senior of the group. He’s been at the location for two years now.
“With all of us being minority, we just say, ‘Let’s work together and show what America’s really about: small communities, coming together as one.’”
That means problem-solving, sometimes with a spontaneous gathering outside a storefront.
Burch likes the idea of cross promotion as a business strategy.
“Really, we want to support each other,” she said. “If customers come to us, we want to also share their business too.”
That’s a big deal for Kalandrea Kendrick, operations manager for Pura, a smoothies and juice bar.
“It is a big deal just because No. 1, we’re all in the same location, and so we can all stick together and kind of bounce ideas off of each other,” she said. “We can help one another being that we all are minorities . . . you know, we can go outside, converse with one another. It’s when steel sharpens steel.”
Both Pura and Rockin’ Chicken & Waffles will be opening this month.
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