NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. – With no clear end to the Canadian border closure, Businesses in Niagara Falls are bracing themselves for the possibility of a holiday season with limited tourism and domestic sales.
"I know that there are some businesses that are going out of business," said Tawanda Bassham, CEO of Tyou-nique Hair & Beauty.
In fact, a report by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that 41 of Black-owned businesses were indefinitely shut down by COVID-19, compared to just 17 percent of white-owned businesses.
That lingers in Bassham's mind.
Just days before the governor ordered a state-wide lockdown Bassham opened her Hair & Beauty supply store on Main Street in Niagara Falls.
"The fact I was able to open in COVID- is a beautiful thing," added Bassham.
Despite everything stacked against her she and some of her fellow business owners on Main Street, they’ve been doing pretty well.
She's now one of six black owned businesses on the strip.
It's a significant amount according to Niagara County Legislator Owen Steed, who says there were only four prior to the pandemic.
Ninja Stylez Barbershop is close to celebrating one year in business. Owner Marlon Grant was able to realize his dream with the help of a nearly $7,000 Micro Enterprise Grant through the NFC Development Corporation, despite being shut down for a few months from the pandemic.
"It’s getting good at certain points but I would like to see growth at (a) more rapid pace," said Barbershop Owner Marlon Grant.
Niagara County Legislator Owen Steed released the following statement:
"Between COVID and racial tensions we have seen the last 10 months it's great to see people taking a chance in these uncertain times. I would also ask our county economic development agency to help do what they can to help these businesses out with low cost power and take advantage of some of the programs they offer."
For local business owners, those programs have not only helped some survive the pandemic, but thrive during one of the most challenging times the nation has seen.