The COVID-19 pandemic ravished businesses across America and have left many business owners seeking answers. Last week, President Donald Trump stated his Platinum Plan would assist small business owners, while also providing the opportunity for future Black business owners. If his current term is an indication of how those efforts will go, the future looks bleak.
One of the Black business owners impacted by the lack of organization and assistance from the Trump Administration is Celeste Beatty, who appeared in a recent Biden campaign spot. Beatty is the first Black woman to own a brewery in the United States and was met with the struggles that many across America have faced under inadequate leadership.
“From day one we lost 70% of our sales, just like that,” Beatty said. “The policy set by the current administration is very, very confusing. I applied for the loans and just didn’t get it. I saw very huge companies who are customers of mine get millions of dollars, meanwhile, I’m just doing what I can to survive.”
Following her appearance, Celeste Beatty spoke with The Source to provide more details on the lack of a plan from the Trump administration and how she is operating going forward.
What was your initial reaction to the pandemic and how did it affect business for you?
My initial reaction was a concern for my family and community. We lost one of our favorite bar owners to COVID, Sam Hargrove, of Paris Blues in Harlem. We lost much of our beer sales due to the closure of many of our bar and restaurant accounts.
What were conversations with employees about the impact of COVID like for you?
Conversations with our team and partners were difficult not knowing who would be impacted by the virus, how to stay safe, how to provide the resources needed for basic survival without sales.
What is the current status and outlook of your business?
The current status of my business is that we’re deep in recovery mode, pivoting wherever we can to generate sales, focusing on grocery stores and direct delivery, collaborating with other brewers and business owners, and the community to share resources and support one another.
How clear or effective do you think the communication from the Trump administration was for aid?
The communications from the Trump administration have been very chaotic and unclear, policies didn’t adequately address the needs of small business owners.
Did you receive some federal assistance? If so, how much did it help out?
We didn’t receive any federal assistance.
What would you hope to see in the near future for assisting businesses?
I think there needs to be more financial support for small businesses wary of borrowing due to existing debt. These businesses are strapped already the last thing they need is to worry about losing their businesses. It’s great to see all of the private funding in the form of grants being offered.
What in the plan for Black and small businesses from Joe Biden has encouraged you about his potential presidency?
The Biden plan to hold our lending institutions accountable to reinvest in our communities is critical as well as initiatives that support HBCU business development programs and incubators and innovation hubs.