Two entrepreneurs in the Heartland share the importance of supporting local, Black-owned businesses

Black Business Month
Published: Aug. 1, 2023 at 10:21 PM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - August is National Black Business Month and two entrepreneurs in the Heartland share their experiences, and the importance of supporting local, Black-owned businesses.

Rick James is the owner of The Perfect Gentleman, a barbershop in Cape Girardeau. James has been cutting hair for 25 years and says it’s been a journey to get to where he is now.

“Learning how to run a business and managing money and dealing with people--that was hard,” James said. “To have the clientele that I have and interacting with people is just an amazing thing. We have a very diverse clientele: a lot of people of different cultures. I come in contact and get to meet a lot of interesting people.”

Working with a diverse clientele plays a big role in growing a business. Micheal Curry, owner of Fingerprint Urban Dance Studio, says it’s important to support local Black businesses.

“It helps everyone experience culture through similar interests and by saying that, I mean there’s a huge difference between two hamburger shops: one may be owned by a Black person, one may be owned by another culture--but the way they present it is different,” Curry said.

Trying something new can be exciting, but it can also be a big leap of faith.

“If you’re thinking about starting your business--just take the leap. It’s always going to be scary, you’re never going to be ready for it,” Curry said. “It’s kind of like having a baby: you’re never going to be ready for it. It is your baby, but you have to be willing to make sacrifices for the thing that you want to do and the thing that you love.”

James says building a business is a lot of work, but it is worth it.

“Be ready to work. Understand that it’s something that is not easy,” James said. “It’s definitely not for the weak, but it can be done if you’re passionate about it and if it’s something that you really want to do. Just be ready to work.”