ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A fairly new organization in Albany is forming to showcase black-owned businesses in the city.
The goal of the Albany Business League is to offer support for African-American entrepreneurs like Paul Scott.
"This is always something I wanted to do as far as owning my own store, being able to make the decisions I felt best impacted patients and their health care," said Scott.
Two years ago, Scott opened the doors to his own business, Scott's Pharmacy. He said it is the only black-owned pharmacy in Albany.
"I can tell that it's definitely a sense of empowerment when they come and they say 'hey, we want to talk to the owner' or 'we want to talk to the manager' and I tell them that it's me. A lot of people light up about that," he said.
Now a new group, the Albany Business League, is gearing up to advocate for businesses like his.
Chair Sherrell Byrd said the number of black-owned businesses is quickly growing in Albany. She said support of those businesses is vital.
"Our community is 77 percent African American which means if you support a black-owned business here in our community, those dollars stay in our community because those people live and work right here in our community," she said.
The group is just under two years old. Members have been researching how to best address problems that Byrd said can be unique to black-owned businesses like providing start-up capital and tackling negative perceptions.
Scott said that support is needed.
"It starts with banding together and these entities kind of saying hey, we do this or we do this, lets band together and see how we can network together," he said.
"We're here to let them know, no you are important. You matter. And we need to keep you here in our community because Albany needs you," said Byrd.
The Albany Business League is working on a new website that will include a directory with a map of all the black-owned businesses in Albany. The group hopes to fully launch that website next month.
They also plan to launch a membership drive at that time, as well. Anyone with questions on how to join can call Byrd at 229-669-6506.
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