ESCONDIDO, Calif. – A local group is urging San Diegans to support Black-owned businesses in honor of Black History Month.
Sip Wine & Beer in Escondido carries a majority of Black-owned and women- or minority-owned wine and beer in the country, something that isn’t found often. Without outdoor seating and operating under tight COVID-19 restrictions, owner Cassandra Schaeg said survival is tough.
“Through Black History Month, yes, after that I don’t know,” Schaeg said.
A federal report found 41% of Black-owned businesses closed their doors during the pandemic.
Fortunate for Schaeg, she’s part of a broader local network called Black San Diego that is working to stop that number from growing. The online group has almost 40,000 followers and acts as a pipeline for Black-owned businesses.
Black San Diego cofounder Sheri Jones said the group took off after it was created five years ago. It has been a much-needed leg of support for the Black business community during the pandemic.
“It was already a struggle before to be a Black-owned business, and then you get hit with the pandemic, where we don’t have the funding or the resources,” Jones said. “We’re the hub, we’re the connector from one end to the next end, and it just keeps going from there.”
Schaeg said Black San Diego is part of the reason she’s still in business with the group providing some of her biggest customers. Not only does it serve as a networking platform, it also offers free marketing with space to spread the word about new Black-owned businesses and products.
“Within minutes, they email me, ‘I want some, can you deliver?’” Schaeg said. “Black San Diego is the network to really connect with the community, and the Black community in San Diego, because we’re all so spread out.”