A weekend with black business

I really don’t have to go too far out of my way to practice what I preach about supporting black businesses during August and throughout the rest of the year.  On Saturday, I touched eight firms without consciously setting out to do it.  It wasn’t until midnight that I realized how many I had interfaced with.

At the Yerba Buena Plaza, I peeped in on the free jazz concert being presented by Afrosolo, a non-profit organization that presents a festival of solo performances by black artists, conveniently enough each August.   There are additional performances all month long.   Organizations like Afrosolo keep our artists employed and give them exposure.  They deserve our gratitude and support.

Had a hankering for a hot pastrami sandwich from Miyako Ice Cream Shop on Fillmore and O’Farrell St. I was happy that the line stretched out the door with customers from their teens to their seventies.  He makes a bigger sandwich with more meat than the Subway in the next block for only $3.25.  Charles Spencer of New Chicago Barber Shop was right behind me in line.

Sheba Lounge, the spankling new piano bar across Fillmore was open.  The co-owner Netsanset Arimeheyu makes me a special drink with tea, vanilla brandy and honey.   It was just the thing I  needed for the windy weather that day in S.f.   Agonafer Shiferaw of Rasselas Jazz Club across the street was sitting down for a meal.   We discussed the disruption in the community benefits district which is supposed to market the Fillmore Jazz Preservation District, but seems to only tie itself in knots trying to get organized.

On the other side of Geary is a new one-dollar store which is doing a thriving business although it shares the block with a Goodwill store.  I suspect one-dollar stores will be a booming industry over the next few years of economic uncertainty.   Black neighborhoods can especially use them to replace liquor stores.  The Fillmore area has two new ones.

And of course, I couldn’t pass up visiting Marcus Book Store, the oldest and best black bookstore in the country, where co-owner Greg Johnson was holding court with two men who had grown up in the neighborhood sixty years earlier.  One had a program from the legendary Half Note Club, on Divisadero St., which featured pictures of Redd Foxx and other notables.

So 31 ways in 31 days is just a start.  If I don’t touch a hundred this month, I would be surprised.  Let me know how many you can visit in August.


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