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Black businesses feeling left out

Jeremy Lazarus | 9/6/2018, 6 a.m.
Too many black-owned businesses are feeling left out of a booming Richmond economy.

Mr. Bowers noted that the city previously set a goal of spending 40 percent of its construction dollars with non-white companies, particularly on the new jail and the four schools. While he said the city never reached that goal, it’s a goal that deserves to be reinstated, he said.

As it stands now, Mr. Bowers and others see more struggle than advancement for black businesses in Richmond despite the hundreds of millions of dollars being invested in new construction and company growth.

While Richmond’s economic boom is helping, black businesses are not getting the kind of share that might be expected, Mr. Bowers said. Despite a groaning banquet table, black businesses are still getting the scraps, he said.

“We’re busy, but we’re not busy enough,” said Loren M. Glasper, vice president of Richmond-based Ty’s Hauling and Paving Inc.

“Sure there are one or two companies that are thriving, but we want all of the companies to be sustainable,” Mr. Bowers said. “This is about building the proper foundation to ensure that can happen.

“We are working together because we want black businesses to have a future. And at this point, many of them won’t be here tomorrow if something does not change. That’s why this initiative is so important.”