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More Black-owned businesses survived Philly’s lockdown than researchers expected

Miles Bryan | WHYY

The newly-released 2021 addition of a popular catalog of Black-owned businesses in Philadelphia offers some concrete data on just how hard Black business owners have been hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Forty-five of the 594 businesses listed in the Beech Companies’ Black Business Directory in 2020 have since closed, either temporarily or permanently — a decline of about 8%.

The closed list includes restaurants, bars, event spaces, and gyms: all businesses that have been starved of vital foot traffic over the last year.

Still, the decline was not as dramatic as Ken Scott, CEO of the Beech companies, had expected. He credits the flow of state and federal aid money, along with the resilience of business owners.

“This is crushing,” said Scott, who has been a community leader in North Philadelphia for decades. “But we actually thought it might be higher than that.”

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