Local man helps small black businesses

Published: Sep. 28, 2020 at 12:07 AM CDT
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Starting a business during a pandemic can be hard, but one local business owner is lending a helping hand to small black business owners in the area.

You’ve heard of lending your neighbor food, help and sometimes vehicles. What about the building to your business?

Well, that’s what Jamard White has been doing years.

“I have a building and they have a skill. Why can’t we put two together to make something happen? The golden rule is; if you can help somebody along the way then amen. I stand by that. I am 41 years old and I won’t change for the next 40,” said local business owner Jamard Wright.

Using his last paycheck, white left his hometown in Ripley, Tennessee to come to Meridian. He said he was determined to be a business owner.

“When I realized there were 7 buses and two trains, which come through here 7 days a week. I didn’t have to have a marketing plan because the buses and trains were bringing my customers to me,” said Wright.

At Union Station in Meridian, there’s been a number of small businesses that have used white’s building that is known as “Union Station Café”.

“Mama D was here for 4 – 5 months. We probably got a lot of business then we were expecting too. After mom left, it was tough for a minute. It took a while for me to see how I would regain it back,” said Wright.

White quickly bounced back with two Jamaican restaurants.

“When the Jamaican’s came, we were the only place in town to have it. It didn’t matter the location become that came to us,” said Wright.

Now the building is housing a new restaurant called Jabo’s which will open on October 1st. Just across the street, you will find white’s second business. A photography studio that he allows photographers to use with no charge.

“I think Meridian should have its own black everything if possible. There is a responsibility to have a black studio. There have been days where we couldn’t afford that building and was ready to let it go. With the responsibility of keeping it, we did,” said Wright.

In white’s spare time, he gives back with volunteer community service, putting in over one hundred hours a year.

White said his next goal is to get involved in politics in the near future.

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