Burlington County Commissioners celebrate Black History Month by promoting local Black-owned businesses

Burlington County Commissioner Director Felicia Hopson, left, presented a proclamation to John Harmon Sr., founder, president and CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey, recognizing the chamber’s work and advocacy and the importance of National Black Business Month.

The Burlington County Commissioners are spotlighting local Black-owned businesses throughout February in celebration of Black History Month to showcase the contributions Black Americans have made in Burlington County and across the nation.

“Black entrepreneurs, innovators and artists are responsible for scores of inventions and advances, including the traffic light, automatic elevator doors and even caller ID,” Burlington County Commissioner Felicia Hopson said in a prepared statement. “I can think of few better ways to celebrate these innovators and groundbreakers then by helping to support Black-owned businesses and enterprises located in our own community.”

“As we celebrate Black History Month in February, we want to recognize the important contributions that Black Americans have made to all aspects of life, including our business landscape and economy,” Burlington County Commissioner Director Dan O’Connell said in the statement. “One way we can do that is to support local Black-owned businesses. Supporting them not only helps our own communities, friends and neighbors, but it also helps promote equality and strengthens our economic diversity.”

State Sen. Troy Singleton and Evesham Deputy Mayor Heather Cooper also endorsed the initiative.

“I am proud to live in Burlington County, often considered the ‘cradle of emancipation,’ and home to so many historical connections to our state’s African American history,” Singleton said in the statement. “Undoubtedly, whatever gains we have today resulted from those who struggled in the past under unimaginable odds. We can honor those who came before us, in part, by supporting local Black-owned businesses right here in our communities.”

Cooper, who has helped spearhead Evesham’s efforts to promote local small businesses through its Marlton Mondays initiative, said supporting Black-owned businesses helps all of Burlington County grow and thrive.

“Black history is American history, and as the largest town in Burlington County, Evesham Township recognizes our rich culture and diversity. Yet no matter where you call home, we know that recognizing and supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs has always benefited our communities,” Cooper said in the statement. “For our Black-owned businesses, we celebrate their historic triumphs over adversity, and we continue to offer our support here and now as these business create more opportunities for meaningful savings, property ownership, and inclusivity for everyone.”

Sixty businesses are now listed on an interactive map of Black-owned businesses in Burlington County, up from two dozen originally listed in August 2021 when the map was first launched in honor of National Black Business Month.

The map details the location of the businesses, their contact information and websites so that residents can easily find and patronize them.

The map is posted on the Business Portal located on the Burlington County webpage under the “Burlington County Businesses” tab.

There are also county maps listing Hispanic and Latino-owned businesses, women-owned businesses and veteran-owned businesses.

Besides the map, the commissioners are using the county’s social media sites to promote Black-owned businesses throughout the month, including on the county’s Shop Burlington County First page.

Businesses that would like to be listed on the maps and promoted on the county’s social media sites should email information to news@co.burlington.nj.us. Include the business name, address, phone number and a brief history or summary of goods for sale or services offered. Website/social media links and photographs are also helpful.

More than 200 local businesses have been spotlighted on the Shop Burlington County First page and other county social media sites since the commissioners revived the business promotion initiative in 2020.

“Small businesses were among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis and we’ve worked incredibly hard to assist them with their recovery through our Shop Burlington County First initiative, Restaurant Week and other programs like our zero-interest HELP loans,” O’Connell said in the statement. “Economic development remains one of our top priorities and we are continuing to employ creative ways to spotlight and promote our local companies. When these businesses thrive, our communities benefit, so we want to encourage residents to shop and spend local.”

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