SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — With just two years under his belt in the Sacramento marketplace, the coronavirus pandemic couldn’t have come at a worse time for Kevin Lash — the owner and sole employee of Sew Many Designz.
In the face of so many challenges staring him down, Lash is getting help from an online source trying to make sure this deadly pandemic doesn’t kill Sacramento’s Black business community.
“This is a trade, you know, and over the years I figured that out. And it can create a lot of opportunities. It can create an opportunity for another young man or a young woman and that’s really where I’m going toward, is I want to grow this business and be able to give out some jobs,” Lash told FOX40.
Lash’s mission to help the community ran head first last year in the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s frightening. It’s terrifying to be in this kind of situation,” Lash said. “I wouldn’t wish this on anybody.”
Lash says he watched orders for his vinyl appliqué, screen printing and embroidery business drop off more than 50 % in the first few months of the pandemic while monies in the federal Paycheck Protection Program passed him by. Even other loans he’s qualified for have yet to pay off with $16,000 in limbo.
“SBA approved me for the loan and I’ve been waiting all year for that money,” he said.
All of that made Lash take a deeper look at his membership on the Sac Black Biz Facebook page created by Chris Lodgson.
Lodgson’s group offers 5,000 and about 500 businesses a networking platform to those in need for free.
“I got a few repeat customers out of that,” Lash said.
Every day, Lodgson pulls from the social media accounts owners like Lash already have and creates ads that keep those businesses top of mind for anyone scrolling around here.
With Lodgson’s help, Lash’s orders are up these days and both are happy to credit this network, but Lodgson is also looking to Washington to change its pandemic outreach to his clients in a meaningful way.
“Specifically target — explicitly target — Black-owned businesses and to say that actually in legislation and policy,” Lodgson said. “Target businesses where there are no employees other than the owner of the business. Ninety-five percent of Black businesses have no other employee than the owner.”