David Hall told us last summer that one of the biggest obstacles facing Black-owned businesses in Arkansas is simple awareness. Hall took over from his father as proprietor of K Hall & Sons Produce, a staple of the Central High neighborhood in downtown Little Rock. It’s a produce stand, grocery store, caterer, butcher and lunch counter rolled into one, and Hall’s sons likely will take over one day from him.
An occasional lunch-hour diversion for downtown employees, it’s a true neighborhood institution serving an almost exclusively Black clientele. We interviewed Hall in July 2020 for a piece about Black businesses and equitable economies, and he acknowledged being exposed to racism in the process of building the business his dad started almost 50 years ago. But mostly, Hall thinks Black businesses suffer from anonymity. Opportunity is there, he said back in July. “But it just always doesn’t trickle down to us.”
The February issue of Arkansas Money & Politics hopes to shine a light on Black businesses that get lost in the shadows. Dwain Hebda will tell the story of Mickey’s Cakes & Sweets, one of Little Rock’s best bakeries and itself a Central Arkansas institution. We’ll list 100 of the state’s prominent Black businesses, from barbecue joints to ad agencies, and this month’s executive Q&A is dedicated to Black business owners and execs who’ll share with readers some of the unique challenges they’ve faced in building their businesses.
Plus, this month we introduce our “Executive Extracurriculars” feature, visit the world-famous McClard’s in “The Digs of the Deal,” consider the business of college football coaching changes, and finally, we’ll hear from George Dunklin in The Last Word.
Thank you for reading. Send your comments and story ideas to me at HBaker@ARMoneyandPolitics.com.