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Crucial Conversations: Alex Habersham on supporting local black-owned businesses

Alex Habersham has been the publisher of the Macon-Middle Georgia Black Pages Resource Guide since 1991.

MACON, Ga. — In light of what's happening nationally and right in our backyards, we're having crucial conversations with people across Central Georgia to spotlight different perspectives.

Kayla Solomon spoke to Alex Habersham, the publisher of the Macon-Middle Georgia Black Pages Resource Guide, to find out why he believes it's important, now more than ever, to support black owned businesses.

Alex Habersham: "African Americans in Central Georgia spend $3.5 billion a year on goods and services. So my concept is that if in fact more of that money could be circulated in the community with African American businesses, then the whole community would benefit because it would position these businesses to be involved socially, politically, economically, educationally, civically, from a non-profit perspective, and in many other ways."

Kayla Solomon: "In the last few weeks, we've seen more people supporting the 'black lives matter' movement. Has that had any impact on any businesses around here? Has it helped? Has it hurt? Or have you seen any businesses really joining the cause?"

Alex Habersham: "I've seen businesses joining the cause, but the key to addressing problems is communication. In order to communicate effectively, in order to have the right attitude, there has to be a consciousness, there has to be an understanding, there has to be a desire to understand why people who don't think like you and don't act like you, why they feel that way. Then there has to be a discussion. The problem is there is too many activities with no discussions."

Kayla Solomon: "There are people that maybe don't feel comfortable going to protests and want to know of other ways they can help the black community. What are some ways you would suggest or what are some businesses you recommend they support?"

Alex Habersham: "There are several. Number one, I want support for the Black Pages by utilizing it to support the African American businesses. This is an excellent resource." 

He adds, "It's on the part of the community to realize how, if, in fact, when these businesses do better, then it uplifts the entire community. You know there's this old saying that 'a rise in tide raises the whole ship', so if these businesses were to be in a better position if you please by generating more revenue, then it would permeate throughout the community and have a positive effect on the community."

Kayla Solomon: "As far as how people can also help these black businesses, I know you mentioned there are a few that have been struggling due to COVID-19, whether they had to close or slow down operations. Are there any examples or restaurants or stores that people can help support?"

Alex Habersham: "Restaurants are a main stay in this community. You've got physicians, you got real estate agents, you got auto detail shops, you got car lots. Not to forget clubs and lounges all over town. I wish that African Americans and majority people too could say, 'I'm gonna visit two African American businesses this week', and do business with them. The rippling effect of that could be staggering."

The next issue of the Macon-Middle Georgia Black Pages Resource Guide will be published on June 20.

If you'd like a list of black-owned businesses here in Central Georgia, you can find businesses separated by industry on the Macon Black Pages website.

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