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Support for local black business owners

Posted at 5:37 PM, Aug 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-07 17:37:38-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — There are more than 250,000 black owned businesses in Florida. That's according to recent data from the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

To celebrate black business month, the Capital City Chamber of Commerce is working to support black-owned businesses in our community; that includes Olean's Café.

"You can't beat it. With that pork chop fried in the morning, they love it," said McCaskill.

Olean McCaskill has been serving up southern, home cooking for almost 28 years now.

"That catfish and tilapia, they love it all," said McCaskill.

Located on the Southside just across the street from Florida A&M University, McCaskill welcomes everybody from Tallahassee natives to college students.

"A lot of them call me mama, Miss O, auntie, grandma, and they tell me it's like coming home," said McCaskill. "It's home away from home and I'm just grateful they love Olean's."

Olean's is just one of the more than 250,000 black owned businesses in Florida. Now, Katrina Tuggerson is celebrating entrepreneurs in honor of national black business month.

Tuggerson and the Capital City Chamber of Commerce are bringing education, contracting and funding opportunities to Tallahassee.

"If we don't, as chamber leaders or community stakeholders, don't take the lead and say how do we make it a little easier for our community and that's what makes our businesses thrive," said Tuggerson.

The chamber, along with Domi Station, FAMU's Small Business Development Center and Big Bend Minority Chamber of Commerce. are putting over $4 million in grants into our community to help black businesses grow and thrive.

That money is, "for technical assistance where it's needed for the business planning and for anything a business needs to scale up, all the way to marketing," said Tuggerson.

Something Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor stands behind, especially on the Southside.

"The monies circulating in the Southside, it portends that there can be an improvement in other areas of people's lives and collectively and corporately for our entire community," said Proctor.

Although Tuggerson said she enjoys helping businesses like Olean's thrive, she hopes she won't be needed in the future.

"I'm excited about the day when we can say we don't have to need special programming for black businesses, but until that time we'll continue to work," said Tuggerson.

An idea McCaskill echoes while she works to serve the community in her own way.

"Other black businesses need to come and do what they're going to then and you have to help it and help the business continue to grow too," said McCaskill.

The Big Bend Minority Chamber of Commerce has a directory of small businesses in our area you can support.