'Shop Black Business Friday' aims to help Philadelphians hit hard by pandemic

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A new effort is underway in Philadelphia to support Black and Brown-owned businesses, which have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic.

Ursula Augustine knows attitude is everything.

"It gives you hope that we will get through this," said Augustine, who owns Ursula's About Phace Rittenhouse Studio. The space is a shrine to her craft and love of nostalgia.

"It's just us working, making our money day to day, week to week and really relying on the support of our clients," she said.

Like many business owners, the pandemic has presented numerous challenges.

Helping Black and Brown businesses is now part of the City of Philadelphia's new initiative, which nationally have been closing at twice the rate of others.

"Even if you just take a look at our website, there are over 130 businesses that are on the site," said Visit Philadelphia Chief Innovation and Global Diversity Officer Rachel Ferguson.

The city in conjunction with Visit Philadelphia is now working on this effort push to sales, job support, while shedding light on businesses described as community anchors.

"Diversity and inclusion is at the core of our DNA as an organization," Ferguson said.

Part of this city's initiative is also declaring every Friday in December "Shop Black Business Friday."

Philadelphia City Councilmember Cherelle Parker is the one introducing the resolution behind the shopping initiative.

"In order for all of us to survive, in order for all of us to grow better, we need to support one another," said Steve Jamison, owner of Blue Sole Shoes.

Jamison said in his 14 years, he's never seen a movement quite as profound as this.

The goal is keeping the energy and dialogue moving forward.

"We have to encourage support and solicit the support of those outside of our own communities," Augustine added. "It's that type of momentum that we are starting to see and feel -- I think (it's) going to help support and propel the Black and Brown businesses to where they should be."

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