Insight News

Wednesday
Nov 26th

Supermarkets and the Black consumer economy

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Minneapolis, MN - The Oct. 8 Insight/KMOJ Public Policy Forum, broadcast over radio, television and worldwide via the internet, spanned the country from Lucille’s Kitchen in the heart of North Minneapolis to include the participation of U.S. Congressional Representative Eva M. Clayton (D - NC) member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Minneapolis, MN - The Oct. 8 Insight/KMOJ Public Policy Forum, broadcast over radio, television and worldwide via the internet, spanned the country from Lucille’s Kitchen in the heart of North Minneapolis to include the participation of U.S. Congressional Representative Eva M. Clayton (D - NC) member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Focusing on ways to rectify the lack of educational and business opportunities for minorities, panelists included, on-site, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) Chancellor James H. McCormick; Associate Vice Chancellor Delores Fridge; Public Affairs Officer Linda Cole and Minneapolis Community and Technical College President Phil Davis. Also participating in the discussion were Francis N. Onwualu, president of the National Association of Minority Contractors - Upper Midwest, and Richard Copeland, president, Thor Construction.

Clayton is distinguished by unprecedented advocacy of strategies aimed at continuing to strengthen the economy of African American communities. She is widely recognized as an official who leverages her position, working to empower her constituents by enfranchising Black business. Clayton convened a Sept. 17 roundtable at the House of Representatives, inviting supermarket and grocery chief executives to identify business opportunities for African Americans in the food industry. At the roundtable, she addressed critical issues that would enable Black companies to transcend the inertia of “business-as-usual” to rectify the equation by which African Americans who spend billions of consumer dollars, remain under-represented in the marketplace as suppliers of farm products, manufactured goods, and professional and technical services.

Lucille’s Kitchen, a soul food restaurant in North Minneapolis, for five years has hosted the weekly public policy forum, which has conducted unique video-conference connections with South Africa, Berlin, Germany, and other points around the nation and within the state of Minnesota. Clayton’s presentation inaugurated the live-to-the web feature, a capability that allows CBC members to speak to their own districts and to the Black world simultaneously via internet. Insight News will then post its feature story about the Forum at the home page of the Black Press of America, (www.blackpressusa.com), the website of National Newspaper Publishers Association, making the feature available to Black newspapers nationwide.

Clayton joined the forum via videoconference from the US House of Representatives in Washington, D.C.
Of the September roundtable, Clayton said: “We had more people wanting to come [to the discussion] than we could accommodate. Apparently there is sincere interest on the part of the industry to let us know what they are doing, the techniques of how minorities, particularly African Americans, can do business, not only in selling products and services in-store but in the creation and construction of the businesses.

“All participants were very responsive,” she continued. “Some may not be doing as much as we want. Some are doing more than others, but at least they want to talk about it. This is an important step.”

Clayton said the initiative stands to significantly benefit a company like Glory Foods, which is attempting to expand its national distribution to reach an annual sales goal of $100 million. The Ohio-based company has a frozen food product manufacturing plant in North Minneapolis. Clayton also emphasized the need for minority consumers to educate themselves and not undervalue their power of choice so that they experience greater cash-flow instead of seeing vast capital go one-way from their pockets to mainstream coffers. “[We need to] organize and rethink how we spend our dollars so it helps us. The Urban League is an excellent organization to begin that process, to bring forums where we can
 

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