PHOENIX — While most small businesses struggled financially during the pandemic, Black-owned businesses were among those who struggled most, according to a survey by the Federal Reserve. In addition, data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows less than 20% of U.S. businesses are minority-owned.
That is why Black Restaurant Week was created — to celebrate and support Black-owned culinary businesses and to educate customers about the abundance of cultural cuisines.
For a full list of participating restaurants, click here.
One of those businesses is Chic Chef Marketplace located in midtown Phoenix and owned by West Valley resident Nik Fields. Fields has catered for celebrities, has her own olive oil brand which she sells at the market, and is about to open Chic Chef Cafe right next door in April.
"It's been a dream come true," Fields said.
But it's a dream she didn't pursue until later in life. Fields says she always had a passion for cooking, but her parents had reservations.
"I think it had a lot to do with at that time culinary wasn't fashionable, it didn't pay well, and it was more of a low-level position," she said.
So she got a job in finance, started a family, and when the time was right, started focusing on what she was passionate about.
Fields, along with her husband Dr. Rarkimm Fields, also hold networking events in hopes of helping other businesses like theirs succeed.
"Just to be able to know where to go locally for the capital and in our community that has been a challenge. I will not tell you anything otherwise because it speaks to the 20% that you talked about, we want that number higher," Dr. Fields said.
The couple even allows other businesses, without a brick-and-mortar store, to sell products at their market. They encourage anyone to reach out to them if they'd like to connect.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce also has a directory of Black-owned small businesses across the country here.