Black History Month: black owned businesses expanding along the GTR
GOLDEN TRIANGLE, Miss. (WCBI)- It’s a place to get a haircut, advice, or just a good conversation, and you can find one on every other corner in town; the barbershop.
“The barbershop has always been an important role in the community you know so I feel like I play a part in being that pillar in the community along with numerous amount of other barber shops throughout the state of Mississippi and around the world,” said owner of The Barber Shop in West Point Johnny Samuel.
Samuel has been a licensed barber since the 90’s. He first opened his doors to his sanctuary in 2000. While getting a hair cut is first on the agenda; clients are leaving with more than just a fresh new look.
“When I first got into the business I never understood the importance of a barber. I was told when I was in barber school you’re more than just a barber you’re going to be a counselor, you’re going to be a friend to a lot and you’ll become family members to a lot,” said Samuel.
Samuel has gotten to build a close relationship with a good number of his customers. Barber shops have been around for years and are still thriving.
Newer businesses are now trying to keep that same trend going. The Snap House in Columbus has been opened since August of 2021.
Customers come in and take pictures and can choose several backgrounds with their phones in hand. Co-founder Janie Shields said there have been some challenges.
“Being black and being in Mississippi it’s hard starting a business; sometimes we get discouraged because some of the different hurdles that come about,” said Shields.
Overcoming those hurdles is a part of the game though. Both Shields and Samuel agree that black owned businesses are needed in our area and hope they will continue to grow for years to come.
“Being a black owned business is important to know that black owned businesses are needed and wanted in this area and so we’ve been supported and we’re super thankful for all of the people that have supported us because we are a black woman owned business,” said Shields.
“By being black minorities I would like to see that number expand in the future where the importance of being a black owned business and showing others and the youth coming up how important it is to own your own business and become an entrepreneur,” said Samuel.
Black owned businesses make up roughly 1 percent of businesses around the U.S.