Why It’s Important To Support Black-Owned Businesses In Bryan-College Station
Patronizing black-owned businesses is an effective way to show support for the current movement for racial justice and equality that was born out of the killing of George Floyd by a police officer, according to officials at Texas A&M University.
“Supporting black-owned business is embedded in Texas A&M’s compliance with and commitment to meeting the Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) goals established in Texas Administrative Code 20,” said Jennifer McGee Reyes, assistant vice president for diversity at Texas A&M. “By supporting local businesses owned by historically-marginalized and excluded people, we are advancing excellence and inclusion and remedying disparities.”
Experience BCS, which promotes tourism in Bryan-College Station, has a running list of local black-owned restaurants on its website.
Chris Riggins ’18, tourism marketing manager at Experience BCS, compiled the list as a result of inquiries the organization was receiving.
“We had a few local residents reach out to us via social media asking if we knew of any black-owned restaurants they could support in town in light of recent events, so initially we would just let them know of a couple we knew of off the top of our heads,” said Riggins.
But the movement continued to grow on social media very quickly, Riggins said, so they decided it would be beneficial for everyone to start a running list.
“These restaurants are essential to the very fabric of our community,” he said. “BIPOC [black, indigenous, people of color] business owners have contributed greatly to the local economy, and help make Bryan-College Station a great place to live, work and visit. We hope the Aggie family will join us in supporting them.”
One of the restaurants listed is Fargo’s Pit BBQ in Bryan, which is co-owned by Belinda Wells and Alan Caldwell, and has been serving patrons for more than 20 years.
Caldwell was born and raised in Bryan, Wells in Houston, and both have family in Bryan-College Station going back several generations.
Wells said the COVID-19 pandemic had a severe effect on their business, so it was all that much more meaningful when she found out about the movement to support black-owned businesses.
“I had a heartfelt moment with a customer when stated her reason for her purchase,” Wells said. “She just never thought about supporting black-owned business and it was just time for a change – it was just time.”
Wells said she and everyone at Fargo’s is grateful to those who organized the push to support black-owned businesses, and as always, to all of her customers.
“A big thank you for the folks who have put their time and energy into this push,” she said. “Finally – this show of support, it has warmed my heart. There are a lot of great people in our community and we are truly blessed.”