Quench brings pizazz into former food deserts
Job Creation and Innovation: State of Black Business, 9th edition highlights the expanding African-American food service industry as a prime catalyst for expanding employment. In Illinois, entrepreneurs like Love are turning black cuisine into national brands.
State policy makers are also focused on manufacturing, creating a Bureau of Urban Economic Assistance designed to address economic development with strategic goals like eliminating food deserts and building industrial parks, instead of merely assisting sole proprietor retailers. That qualitative approach is in line with the 10 Key Factors for Black Business Success.
A 20 percent goal for state government spending with diverse enterprise has been set into law. In 2011, Illinois spent $65.2 million with black-owned businesses, according to Job Creation and Innovation.
In the first six months of fiscal year 2012, federal agencies spent $63 million with black firms in Illinois, led by the Dept. of Defense with $46.8 million and Veterans Affairs with $9.9 million.
Advantage Illinois, the economic development agency, offers The Minority/Women/Disabled/Veteran-Owned Businesses Participation Loan Program (PLP) - designed to enable small businesses to obtain medium to long-term financing in the form of term loans.
Heritage tourism can help the growth of Love's six Quench restaurants, and three more concepts Soul Xpress, 5Loaves Breakfast Cafe and Brown Sugar Bakery. Adding to the Bronzeville Visitor Information Center in the former Supreme Life Insurance Co. building, National African-American Military Museum and the duSable Museum is the brand new Black Ensemble Theater, founded in 1976 by Jackie Taylor, which opened its first permanent home in November 2011.