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Black Restaurant Week hopes to help Colorado small businesses increase marketing

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Posted at 4:29 PM, Mar 21, 2024

AURORA, Colo. — This week, several restaurants in Colorado are participating in Black Restaurant Week, a multi-state marketing campaign that hopes to boost business for Black-owned culinary businesses.

“Understanding that a lot of small businesses really don't have the funds to pay for marketing campaigns… just through the support of community partners, we’re able to essentially host marketing campaigns to create awareness of the great things that they're doing in the culinary community,” said Falayn Ferrell, Black Restaurant Week managing partner. “During COVID, when a lot of the restaurants were kind of just struggling, we looked at our calendar and realized we just didn't have enough calendar space to go city by city. And so we were like, 'Well, why don't we break up the country into regions?'”

The Southwest region’s Black Restaurant Week, which includes Colorado, started on March 15.

“It just allowed more buy-in to be able to access smaller markets that may not necessarily be kind of well-known in the Black culinary scene but still had something to offer to the conversation,” Ferrell said. “I think there's some great things happening in Denver and Phoenix and even in Vegas that I think often get overlooked."

Ferrell said Black Restaurant Week executives are also working to learn more about the challenges Black restaurant owners face and working to track their closures.

“I think the main issue in the restaurant industry is that there are no statistics. The only thing that the National Restaurant Association really reports is that 40% of restaurants are minority-owned. Our nonprofit foundation, Feed the Soul Foundation, is working on an industry research paper where we're actually serving the restaurant owners across the country because there's no data. And I think when you don't have data, you don't understand challenges, obstacles, success stories, from a numerical standpoint,” Ferrell said.

Hewan Kassa and Freweyni Beyene, owners of Endless Grind Coffee in Aurora, are taking part in the week-long event.

“It was easy to signup… it's like, it's a guidebook. Like, you could go to any city and be like, 'I want to support a Black-owned restaurant,'” Kassa said.

Endless Grind Coffee opened in 2017.

“When we first opened, we were the only roasters in Aurora period and then the only Black roasters in all of Colorado,” Kassa said.

“That was my passion, to open a coffee shop because I want to teach my culture,” Beyene said. “Back home in East Africa, we drink like three times a day. You drink coffee three times a day — in the morning, afternoon after lunch and then in the evening gathering with the family.”

Kassa said they’ve faced challenges and victories over the past seven years. They hope their participation in Black Restaurant Week helps them reach more customers.

Sunday, March 24 is the last day of Black Restaurant Week for the Southwest region. For a list of participating businesses, click here.

Black Restaurant Week hopes to help Colorado small businesses increase marketing

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