In honor of the close of Black History Month, we couldn’t go out without highlighting a current history to set the tone for many generations to come.
A little gem known as The Black Store Inc. Is not just your typical beauty supply store in Third Ward Houston.
We sat down with the Founder, Lloyd Ford, to talk about why his store is so unique and pivotal to the Black community.
BBN: What was the motivation behind starting your own beauty supply store?
Lloyd: The number one motivation is we always try to make sure we stop businesses that kind of heavily exploit the Black community. When I say ‘exploit,’ I don’t always mean that those individuals mean to do it, or that I discount our lack of ability to take advantage of the opportunity within our own community. But I do know the roadblocks that have been put in place in order to kind of keep those things from happening as well. The biggest motivation, like I said, is just tackling one of the industries that we don’t know or that we don’t participate in.
BBN: The location for your store is located in an area that is being gentrified. Why was it important for you to have a store here in this particular area?
Lloyd: I would say this area, Sunnyside, is the most Black dense community in the city of Houston, I believe it’s like 92 or 93 percent Black. It’s one of the last ones close in the city, close in town within 610 loop. I think all of our neighborhoods are practically being gentrified. A lot of us didn’t take advantage of opportunities in our communities. I grew up in Third Ward. My dad, my parents were in the community but not involved. Many people don’t own these locations or don’t have the right funding or input from the community to keep surviving.
BBN: What is the biggest challenge that you have faced owning a beauty supply store?
Lloyd: Inventory. The biggest things is just keeping up with inventory as far as being in proximities of different Asian stores. Some suppliers won’t want to sell your inventory, good news is we found different ways around that, but I would say that the biggest obstacle is keeping up with the demand of inventory and being able to have a steady supply of what the people want.
BBN: Why is it so hard for Black-owned beauty supply owners to get the same access to inventory compared to non-Black owned beauty supply stores?
Lloyd: We don’t make any of it. We aren’t distributors of anything or manufacturers of anything. That’s what we want to change here. We want to promote all of the Black-owned stores and all of the Black-owned brands.
BBN: For aspiring Black-owned beauty supply store owners, what advice would you have for them on how to overcome the challenges you’ve faced?
Lloyd: Create partnerships. Great relationships with other like-minded individuals and other beauty suppliers. I think that’s what helped us skip a lot of obstacles.
BBN: Your store does more than just sell products. Tell us a bit about how your store is helping advance the Black community?
Lloyd: For one, the involvement is big on economics; us being able to divert our funds towards community initiatives. One of the biggest things is that we own our own credit card systems and we redirect those fees toward the community. We also help build websites for local Black-owned businesses and looking to help more.
BBN: What’s next in the near future for The Black Store Inc.?
Lloyd: Definitely expansion into other Black communities seeing how we can get more Black-owned brands heavily involved with the community and seeing how we can get their brands out there.
To learn more about The Black Store Inc. and its founder, visit www.theblackstoreinc.com
Inside the Black Store Inc. Experience