Black-owned businesses see boost in sales after protests

Straight Outta Soulfood owner Tye Bell is seeing more business than ever over the last few weeks following calls on social media to support black-owned businesses.

Posted: Jul 12, 2020 6:14 PM
Updated: Jul 12, 2020 6:14 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Black-owned businesses in Lane County have seen increased sales over the last few weeks as a result of calls to support through social media. 

Black business owner and chef Tye Bell opened Straight Outta Soulfood in January. Since then it's gained a lot of popularity. 

"People were just reserving all through the night," Bell said. "My phone was ringing all through the night."

Part of the hype is its uniqueness. Bell only sells 40 meals per day all via online orders. All meals are also cooked from his home kitchen.

"I'm just waking up and cooking their meals," Bell said. "It's just so easy and fast."

He said business has moved much faster following the death of George Floyd. Initially, Bell had to cook all day to sell out his 40 meals. Now Bell sells out by 2 pm. 

"I earned three hundred and some odd followers myself from January 6th through George Floyd," Bell said. "After that is when everything was coming my way."

While Bell is happy about the increased business, he says it shouldn't come at the expense of Floyd's life.

"I hate that it had to happen for that to help," Bell said. "I hate that bad thing had to happen to us for people to be like, 'oh snap it's true.'"

Tony's BBQ is another black-owned business in Eugene. Manager Antwonette Holland says they've received more than one-hundred phone calls per day from customers craving their food.

"There's been times where we've had to stop taking calls because the phone lines are just flooded," Holland said. "It's a good thing to have the support of the community. I just want everyone to be able to be recognized."

Bell and Holland agree the support of black-owned businesses shouldn't just be because protests are top of mind.

"With me it's like don't be out here BLM'ing for you to be like 'I just want to get the experience,'" Bell said. "It's not going to really do nothing. Constantly stay supportive if you really feel like that's you. Don't just do it because everyone else is."

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