By Sharon Levell – As a small business owner, I’m grateful to have a dad that was enlisted in the military. Growing up on an Air force base allowed me to live next door and across the street from a myriad of people from various nationalities and cultures. Unlike today’s news and social media outlets, people on military bases generally did not talk about race because living next door to a different type of person is commonplace.
Fast forward to 25 years ago when I opened my first fine jewelry store, which was located in the largest county in Georgia and with the most multi-cultural population in the state. That first opening day was the scariest day of business to-date. Why? There is a natural worry as to how successful the business would be. Concerns are, will customers walk through the doors or will the right products be on display for patrons in the area. Luckily, I can state that the above-mentioned concerns were just an over-analysis because business has been good. But what I realized is that my parents provided me with an entrepreneur edge because of their military service.
Playing kickball, baseball and sledding with a mix of different types of neighborhood kids transferred to a successful business. The sheer fact that I’m comfortable talking with any type of person as they stand in front of my fine jewelry counter has allowed customers to be at ease when they make buying choices. But there is one perplexing negative business experience that I must discuss. When I publicly declared that I would be a surrogate for President Trump, I lost approximately 35% of existing black and/or democrat customers. How do I know why I lost customers was a result of my political selection? Simply because several customers stated that they couldn’t support my business anymore following my surrogate announcement, a few letters of discontent flowed in and some regular phone calls halted.
I know my business sales a superior product at a very competitive price, but the political climate effected the bottom line. Nevertheless, what I’m most grateful for is the multi-cultural mindset that my military parents blessed me with. I can only imagine if I was only comfortable with people who look like me, my business would seize to exist. Ironically, President Trump’s policies has led the way for black and brown people to have more business opportunities with some of the initiatives that his administration has enacted.
One example is opportunity zones. The declared 8,700 community opportunity zones will increase the number of black business and lead to generational wealth. There is also funding mechanisms in place to assist minorities with building their businesses.
President Trump’s father assisted him with his first business and now his children help run the businesses. This is generational wealth in the purest form. I challenge all entrepreneurs to start your business and train your children and family to expand and further build the business. Our current President has laid a foundation to assist with business building for generation to generation. First, he has demonstrated it through example. Second, he cut taxes right after he took office which made it more affordable to run a business. Thirdly, Opportunity zones are in essence on sale. The Trump administration has announced that the federal agencies that serve Opportunity zones will move offices to those zones. Property prices will begin to go up. You definitely want to focus on business plans and a way to roll out an action plan with expedience.
No other administration has concentrated on increasing the value of infrastructure in areas where mainly minorities reside. Joe Biden has been in office for over 47 years and we have not seen him have interest in these communities. In fact, Biden was only interested in locking up members of these communities when he enacted the 1994 crime bill that unfairly locked up black and brown men.
Again, I was given an unexpected gift of comfortably serving many types of people with ease. I will continue to run my small business with pride and joy, despite all the varied political opinions, social economic differences, and cultural variances. I also see President Trump as a winner for those who chose to walk away as my customer.
President Trump has never and will never take Black Americans’ support for granted. Every day of his presidency he has worked tirelessly to support our community and will continue to do so in a second term. Look no further than President Trump’s newly released Platinum Plan – which details the historic progress delivered for black Americans over the past four years. I will proudly remain a surrogate because I have not seen another President focus on all of America’s people like President Trump.
Sharon Levell is 27-year small business owner who is also a volunteer surrogate for President