TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — How well do you know your local black-owned businesses? Well, two owners are putting you to the test with a black-owned corporate bingo game this month.
The goal is to visit as many black-owned businesses as possible for prizes.
“It invites you to go to Yuppi at North Tampa Pharmacy, Yoggi Empire at different businesses and you just mark it,” said Kiva Williams, owner of The Fun Food Mama.
She and Karimah Henry, owner of Crafting A Fun Life, created this scavenger hunt to make Black History Month more interactive.
“I thought it would get people out and support our local black-owned businesses,” Henry said. “They only think of restaurants but there are convenience stores, pharmacies, yonni steam rooms. There are so many black-owned businesses that people don’t know about, so we want to drive traffic to them,” Willaims said.
Black-owned businesses across the country have taken a devastating blow from the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, 41% of black businesses closed following the 2020 shutdown. In comparison, 17% of white-owned businesses closed. The research also showed that black-owned businesses were five times more likely to receive no PPP funding than white-owned ones.
Mammie Luke, CEO of Yuppi Restaurant, said lack of funding is usually the problem.
“As a small, black-owned business, we don’t necessarily have the budget to do Facebook ads or traditional ads.”
She launched her business during the pandemic and relied on word of mouth to attract customers.
“I believe we’re limited and people don’t recognize us even though we have a nice big orange sign in the window that says Yuppi.”
Luke told 8 On Your Side that she was happy to be part of this year’s bingo game.
“I look forward to participating in more local black history events in Tampa to uplift our community and give our future generation something proud to be a part of.”
It’s not too late to join the game. Here is the digital bingo card. You are also invited to tag #TAMPABAYBEC, if you publish photos of your visits on Instagram.