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Western New Yorkers turn to help black-owned businesses

Posted at 5:56 PM, Jun 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-02 17:56:55-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — It all started with a tweet.

“And it spread like wildfire," Dima Maddah of Buffalo said. "People want to do good around here. They want to help their local black community any way that they can.”

With the help of Western New Yorkers and local organizations, Madam has begun compiling a list of black-owned businesses in Western New York that we can all support.

“I really wanted to show my support to our local black community," she said. " Because everyone is quick to always donate money to the ACLU and for this one specifically, it was the Minnesota Freedom Fund. And I just really wanted to do something and remember, you know, our own local community is grieving right now.”

So she teamed up with Donnie Burtless of Buffalo Eats to spread the word.

“I despise the influencer title and influencer culture a little bit, but you can’t argue that we have some influence on how people go out and choose the restaurants that they want to support," Burtless said.

Buffalo Eats has more than 26 thousand followers on Twitter, and even more on Instagram.

“We do have an obligation to use our platform to provide exposure to places that usually don’t get it,” he said.

Like Buffalo Soul on Pearl Street.

“We saw a difference like immediately," co-owner of the business Brandy Alexander said.

Alexander said just 24 hours after first appearing on the list, she already started seeing new faces.

"People driving in from Lancaster, Williamsville,” she said.

“That’s honestly from day one of Buffalo Eats what we always wanted," Burtless said. "People going out of their comfort zones and try something new.”

“I know for me specifically, there were so many businesses that I just didn’t know about that existed," Maddah adds. "So I’m really hoping that getting the awareness of these businesses out there will give them these initial and repeat customers.”

Along with the database compiled by Maddah, That Brown Bag is another resource filled with information about minority businesses in Buffalo.