As a salon that operates with booth rentals, Dunn says she lost her income when she closed under mandatory orders related to COVID-19 last spring. When she reopened it was challenging to keep seeing customers and stay current on her bills.
“Thankfully my husband was employed and we were able to stand strong during the pandemic. However, had he not, we would have been in trouble.”
She’s not alone. A 2020 study revealed that 41% of Black-owned businesses have been shuttered by the COVID-19 pandemic compared to 17% of white-owned businesses. Local and federal relief efforts have provided some avenues for relief, but according to Eugene Cornelius Jr., senior director for the Milken Institute Center for Regional Economics, much more is needed to make sure businesses survive.
That’s why Kinetic Business by Windstream started the Black Business Support Fund to offer grants to Black-owned businesses. The goal is to increase the number and stability of Black-owned businesses in Kinetic’s 18-state footprint.
Dunn’s salon was one of the first to be awarded a grant. “When I got the call I had been selected, I was elated and knew better times were coming!”
Dunn has conducted business under two principles: respect and flexibility. “I respect others regardless of where they come from and I try to be as flexible as I can when it comes to scheduling.”
The salon owner is active in the Lexington community and has made use of her considerable skills to benefit more than just paying customers. Over her years as a business owner in Lexington, Dunn has donated her time and resources to various community initiatives including helping those battling cancer through the program Look Good Feel Better. “I want to, and enjoy giving back to my community. Teaching others beauty tips during and after cancer treatments is incredibly fulfilling,” Dunn said.
Businesses selected for the grant receive free Kinetic Business Internet for a year and a cash award up to $5,000. The businesses also receive a free business consultation from Kinetic Business on processes and products that could improve efficiencies and make their business more profitable.
Check back later this month for additional stories on Kinetic’s Black Business Support Fund recipients.