Editor’s note: Posts from the Community is the place for community announcements and event postings. If you have a community-oriented event you feel our readers would be interested in, please submit here.
BlackSpaceMKE is an urban art cooperative with a basic principle of spreading the message about cooperative economics. In an effort to raise awareness about social entrepreneurship and garner support of black owned businesses, BlankSpaceMKE has established Milwaukee Black Restaurant Week. The week will take place Monday, April 12th through Sunday, April 18, 2021.
For the 6th year in a row BlankSpaceMke (founded by black women Bridget Robinson & Symphony Zawadi) have launched a week dedicated to celebrating the entrepreneurship of our locally owned eateries and want to direct patrons to restaurants that they can support. We have done this at no cost to the restaurant owner! This is a grass roots effort to engage Milwaukee in building wealth in our community. We do not profit from this event.
This year, there are over a dozen black owned restaurants featured locally in the greater Milwaukee area. This is a celebration of the culture, with a goal to increase social entrepreneurship and to support sustainability within local businesses.
Safety precautions are still on the digital and disposal menus! Participating restaurants all have enhanced safety guidelines in place, and we are encouraging curbside, to-go and delivery options in addition to limited in-person dining.
Black Restaurant Week is not a new project. Cities across the country often host an annual restaurant or dining week during which they offer deals or menu specials to bring in new customers. BlankSpaceMKE hosts have decided to bring the same movement to the city of Milwaukee. Locally our city has developed programs such as Recycle the Black Dollar and All Black Everything that enhance the access and spread knowledge about minority owned businesses. In this project, we hope to direct attention to thriving restaurants that could benefit from the exposure and marketing.
Last year in 2020 – in partnership with Ossie Kendrix and the African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin – many of our participating restaurants realized significant sales increase (some almost doubling in daily sales amidst a very uncertain and challenging time for small business owners). The surge in media attention and the boost of new customers that placed orders for curbside and delivery helped tremendously keep the doors open of many restaurants listed in our lineup today.
How does the week work?
We have researched local black owned restaurants and asked them to allow us to include them in the project. With their permission, we use data collection from the week to demonstrate the effectiveness of cooperative economics and the significance of the local dollar to sustain businesses.
We then ask residents of Milwaukee and surrounding communities to visit one or more restaurants on the list. Patronize! Spend money! Eat good food! And document your attendance by “checking in” on social media using the hashtag #MBRW21 and taking a photo of your receipt. We also ask that residents will share their experience at the end of the week. We track all of this data for our final community report.
*It is important to note that this year’s lineup is a reflection of those business owners that signed up to participate as a featured black owned restaurant for the week. We acknowledge that there are dozens of other black owned restaurants that were unable to participate at this time.
BlankSpaceMKE is an urban art cooperative aimed at empowering the community to work together to strengthen values of entrepreneurship by way of fundamental cooperative economics. We believe that a community motivated to invest in themselves while embracing models of shared collective consciousness can build relationships that will sustain business and improve socio economic conditions. BlankSpaceMKE looks to offer long term resources and serve as a hub for small business owners who share in the vision of economic collaboration.
For more information about BlankSpaceMKE’s Black Restaurant Week including a lineup of restaurants visit us at https://blankspacemke.weebly.com/ or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org