Statistics from the Department of Labor are devastating when it comes to Black-owned businesses. They indicate 60% of those that closed during the coronavirus pandemic would never reopen—a disheartening reality.
The Omicron Phi Lambda chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity—also known as the South Fulton Alphas—took that information to heart and were inspired to create an avenue to assure those numbers do not increase.
Through its Economic Empowerment Committee, OPL launched its Digital Black Book—a mobile application and website that lists businesses in South Fulton that are owned by African Americans. The idea is to make it easy to identify Black-owned businesses and help them not only survive, but thrive during a precarious economic time as the country tries to recover from Covid-19.
The fraternity developed the application and website that displays a thorough and developing list of stores, services, restaurants and more for patrons to be intentional about where they spend their dollars.
“We want to live out the principle of Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics) and make a conscious decision on where we spend and steer our dollars,” said Roberto Young, who is leading the effort for the fraternity. “We should be able to rely on each other for support.”
Tally and Twine (TallyAndTwine.com), a Black-owned company that makes stylish and affordable watches for men and women, was the first featured establishment in the Digital Black Book. Co-owner Eric Heyward said the attention garnered has increased business and awareness of his company.
“It’s pretty special that this app was developed specifically to support us, Black-owned businesses in South Fulton,” Heyward said. “The pandemic has been hard on everyone. To have a place set up specifically for Black businesses is a strong way to serve because we know small businesses are the backbone of communities.”
Omicron Phi Lambda, which has 123 members, compiled the Black-owned establishments through its collective resources. The chapter’s strategic plan is to engage businesses, with members serving as account managers into high-capacity businesses while building authentic relationships with business owners.
The OPL chapter of Alpha has been serving the South Atlanta area for more than 30 years, with scholarships for high school students, mentoring programs in schools for boys, charitable donations, political action and more.
Its service areas include the city of South Fulton, College Park, East Point, Fairburn, Chattahoochee Hills, Hapeville, Union City and Palmetto.
Black-owned businesses can be added to the directory via the Mobile App: TheDigitalBlackBook.com.
Talley and Twine, a Black-owned watch company, is the first business featured on the Digital Black Book app that is dedicated to strictly supporting Black businesses in South Fulton.