SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Black-owned businesses in Santa Barbara and the surrounding area are seeing more customers and calls for support in the past two weeks, as a national dialogue about systemic racism continues following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Community members of all races are looking to give black-owned businesses more attention. Some are compiling lists of Santa Barbara County black-owned businesses, one of which can be found here.
Harold Welch, owner of Caribbean restaurant Embermill in downtown Santa Barbara, says he's seen a noticeable increase in customers and tips for his servers in the two weeks since Floyd's death.
“The momentum has tripled in numbers,” he said of the past two weeks. “People definitely came out, said that they’re supporting the whole movement, the cause.”
The extra business has been welcome after a spring slog for Embermill. Welch's restaurant opened in January but took a significant financial hit once the coronavirus pandemic forced local lockdowns in March.
Welch says, however, that while the additional money is helpful, he hopes the national conversation about race continues and brings change.
“The discussion is there, and that’s what we need,” he said. “But what’s gonna happen after the discussion? We wanna see something happen [for] the rights of everybody, it’s not just black [people]. It’s all across the board, because there are a lot of stories that aren’t told.”
Welch also says that he loves the Santa Barbara community and that its people truly care about helping others.