As activists urge people to rethink spending, black-owned businesses in Arizona seeing more sales

As protestors continue to gather in Phoenix and other U.S. cities in the aftermath of George Floyd's death, a local group has an idea on how people can have their voices heard in another way.

Officials with Local First Arizona say to leave a sustained impact, they believe people can change their spending and investing. Officials with the group say in Phoenix, there are many businesses people can support.

At Archwood Exchange in Phoenix, people can buy things from hats to books. Every business supported by Archwood Exchange is a local, black-owned business.

We’ve seen people turn into full brick-and-mortar stores, based off of showing up to our market place Saturday," said Havana Dickerson with Archwood Exchange.

Henry and Havana Dickerson started it three years ago, and now, they’re getting even more support. Other locally-based, black-owned businesses are also getting more support, such as Honey Bears BBQ.

Other businesses also saw more sales

In Chandler, West Alley BBQ also saw more business.

"I was very surprised," said Christian Brantley, one of the owners of West Alley BBQ. "I was looking at my phone today and looking at all the online ordering from GrubHub to our online menu ordering. My general manager calling me every five minutes, saying 'listen, man. We're busy.'"

Brantley says the location has been open for two years, with another location in Tennessee that opened eight years ago. When the stores opened, the orders flooded in. The stores ended up running out of food Tuesday afternoon.

"We're a barbecue restaurant,t so we smoke everything either the day of or prior, so once we sell out, we sell out," said Brantley.

"This isn’t a new issue, but it’s time for us all to do something about it," said Thomas Barr with Local First Arizona.

Barr has put out a list of ways anyone at home can support social justice with money.

"The power to spend your dollars with a business that is black-owned is huge," said Barr. "You’re helping empower that business, help that business build wealth for themselves."

Barr also says people should look at their banks.

"Research your bank. Look it up online and type in 'redlining,' type in 'private prisons.' Find out what they’re doing to actually contribute to positive lives for our black community," said Barr.

Businesses are weighing in on this latest development.

"The more people we can get to work along with our cause, the farther we’ll go," said Henry.

"Now that this has happened, shining light on it will help and will bring more people out to movements like this, where we are supporting black businesses and black people, period," said Havana.

"That's just a blessing from God because after everything that restaurant owners have been going through, with COVID, and then going into this particular day, just amazing to see how the community supported us," said Brantley, who also had a message for all future black business owners.

"Continue to believe in what you do and how you do it and believe in it," said Brantley. "Believe in your product. Believe in your worth, and it will always pay off."

Officials with Local First Arizona also said it is important to listen and learn. They suggest buying books at local book stores, like Grassroots and Palabras in Downtown Phoenix. Barr says no one controls how someone spends their dollars, so people should think about how they spend it.