While the COVID-19 pandemic has been called by many The Great Equalizer, black and brown business owners in the Bronx haven’t shared in that sentiment.
Recently, a report from The Wall Street Journal confirmed that while high-end restaurants like Ruth’s Chris, a steakhouse with locations in Midtown Manhattan and dozens of locations across the country, received $20 million from a federal Coronavirus aid program, countless Mott Haven business owners have either not qualified for loans or been turned away due to their immigrant status.
Many of these businesses, even those viewed as Bronx institutions, have launched Go Fund Me campaigns in an effort to keep their doors open. Some have attracted hundreds of small donations from admirers and neighbors who want to see them survive.
Here are a smattering of local businesses that have set up Go Fund Me accounts while they await federal aid or the end of “shelter in place” mandates. Supporters are also asked to make purchases from their websites.
If your local business has started a Go Fund Me campaign, please let us know and we’ll add you to our list of Go Fund Me campaigns in the South Bronx.
Starting off as a two-week pop-up shop three years ago, Bronx Native Shop has become a cultural hub for local creatives, and a tourist location for many who venture into the city. The shop, co-founded by Amaurys Grullon, offers products celebrating the Bronx, from T-Shifts to individual works of art with Bronx as a theme. The shop, which also organized events and tutorials around building entrepreneurialism across the borough, recently was forced to close its doors due to the pandemic, which has halved its income. To support The Bronx Native Shop you can donate to their Go Fund Me or purchase merchandise on their website.
Mott Haven Bar and Grill
Rosa Garcia became the only female bar owner in the Bronx six years ago when she opened the Mott Haven Bar and Grill on xxxxx place. In partnership with non-profit Here to Here, Chef Kwame Onwuachi, the Bronx Community Relief Effort, World Central Kitchen, the Bronx Private Investment Council, they’ve recently expanded efforts to support students and provide more meals to first responders and health care workers. Supporting their Go Fund Me page helps to supply immediate resources for food security while also providing work for Mott Haven Bar and Grill employees.
La Morada, a family-owned and operated Mexican restaurant that is universally known and loved across the Bronx, has closed down for the next few months because of Covid-19, and the owners have been unable to receive federal assistance. Their Go Fund Me page seeks to raise enough money to allow the Saavedra family, which owns the restaurant, to sustain themselves until they can open their doors again.
The Lit Bar
The Lit. Bar opened its doors in Spring 2019 and is currently the only bookstore serving the Bronx. The venue encourages curious readers and welcomes literary, art, and community gatherings, connecting the great pastimes of social drinking and introverted reading. The owner, Noëlle Santos, is a Bronx native who opened the Lit Bar’s doors after Barnes and Noble, the borough’s only bookstore, closed its South Bronx branch in 2014. Since Santos opened The Lit Bar, it’s become a place where Bronx residents and tourists come to celebrate reading, social interaction, and diversity. Enthusiastic readers also can support The Lit Bar by purchasing books online on their site.
Here’s our email address if you’d like to be added to our list of local businesses seeking local financial support through a Go Fund Me page or online sales: