Philadelphia's Black Restaurant Week helps entrepreneurs after a tough year

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Sooo Trucking Delicious food truck stands out on the 5200 block of Grays Avenue in Southwest Philadelphia.

The truck and its owners have made a name for themselves through their soul food specialties, including their macaroni and cheese, salmon burger and fried fish.

Co-owners Angel Smith and Aminah McDaniel opened right before the pandemic. This week, they are excited to participate in the nationwide initiative Black Restaurant Week LLC for a second time.

Smith described the emotional rollercoaster they dealt with last year.

"We were scared because we put everything we have into this financially and we didn't know what we were going to do," she said.

It's a big reason why they are looking forward to participating in Philadelphia's Black Restaurant Week. The initiative offers businesses a free marketing campaign and free exposure for small Black businesses that don't often have additional money to commit to publicity.

"It means a lot, we come together as a community," McDaniel said.

Black Restaurant Week kicks off on Friday, June 4, and runs through Sunday, June 13. It was developed to shine a light on minority businesses by three friends in Houston: Warren Luckett, Falayn Ferrell and Derek Robinson.

The Action News Data Journalism Team found that from February to April of last year, 41% of Black-owned businesses nationwide permanently closed, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research

H&R Block conducted a survey from the start of the pandemic to January 2021 and found 53% of Black-owned businesses saw a major decrease in revenue compared to only 37% of white-owned businesses.

"It really is the power of the Black dollar. I thank the local community and local support," said Black Restaurant Week Managing Partner Falayn Ferrell.

For Sooo Trucking Delicious, Black Restaurant Week was a huge success last year. They said it helped towards them opening a brick-and-mortar store in Center City this summer.

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