CHARLOTTE, N.C. – During his visit to Charlotte’s Camp North End, Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden spoke about helping businesses struggling due to the pandemic.
Restaurant owners Greg and Subrina Collier participated in a Black Economic Summit the former Vice President hosted.
“Being able to have a seat at the table but being able to have a voice at the table, and I think this is the step in the right direction to have a real voice at the table,” Greg says.
The Colliers own Uptown Yolk and Leah & Louise in Camp North End.
Leah & Louise, a restaurant specializing in Southern food by the way of the Mississippi River Valley, was expected to open in March. However, the pandemic changed those plans.
The restaurant initially began as takeout only. In June, it opened for dine-in service.
“The tough thing is it slowed down business. Who knows how much money we actually lost, trying to figure out how to keep employees and pay them well,” Greg says.
During the summit, Subrina asked Biden about his plans to provide relief to small businesses.
He said he had a plan to help businesses keep their doors open while staying safe.
"I promise you, I guarantee you, if I’m elected, that you will get both the PPE, you'll get also the money to be able to open and additional money not only to mantain your employees,” Biden said.
Subrina liked the proposal because it focused on providing funding for different areas of the business, not only payroll.
"The answer he gave me, I was very satisfied with and I look forward to see if the plan is going to be enacted,” Subrina says.
The Colliers, who plan to support Biden, will continue to work closely with the Biden campaign. They will represent North Carolina in Biden’s Small Business and Entrepreneurs Advisory Council.
Other business owners in the U.S. selected include the founder of Jeni’s Ice Creams and the executive chairman of KIND snacks.
Those who are part of the group will connect with each other and mobilize other business owners in support of Biden.
“To be in the small business advisory council, that was something that was unexpected but it’s in our wheelhouse. We always spoke about small business struggles and Black business struggles,” Subrina says.
Subrina was also supportive of Biden’s proposal to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Biden also spoke about investing $70 billion over 10 years for Historically Black Colleges and Universities.