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Showing support for black-owned businesses

Amid the protests over the murder of George Floyd are calls for supporting the black community

SCRANTON, Pa. — Asia Custus has only been cooking up southern soul food in Scranton since February, just before the stay-at-home order forced her to stop offering dine-in service.

But she's hoping for more publicity, and more customers at her restaurant, Paradise Soulfood and Sweets, by being on this list. 

NEPA's Black Business Directory, created by the nonprofit Black Scranton Project, is not new.

But the renewed calls for racial justice across the country have caused it to circulate more widely on social media in recent days.

The goal is a simple one - to give black-owned businesses more visibility.

"Being a minority, you get looked over, I feel like people don't see you, they don't notice you and things like that when you're a smaller number," said Custus.

Koni Bennett owns Vanity Boutique Salon in West Scranton, a community she's proud to be a part of.

She's excited to see the Black Business Directory gain momentum.

"It's a big deal in this area because this area doesn't have many black businesses that survive and that survive long-term. So just having that list available lets people in our community know that we're here, we're here to stay and that hopefully, with their support, we'll be here long-term," said Bennett.

Calvin Phillips, the owner of Westside Flava's, says the support for the black community is inspiring.

"It's motivation. It makes us want to work a little bit harder. The list brings more customers, bringing more customers makes you work a little bit harder, and there's more motivation to keep going and keep going strong," said Phillips.

"I really, really truly hope that things get better. I feel that with showing support and people from other races showing their support, it really is encouraging," said Custus.