CLEVELAND — Behind the clothes, shoes and jewels at "He Loves Curves" boutique lies pain and sacrifice.
“It’s a blessing and it’s a privilege to even still be here,” said owner, Charkia Campbell.
Some of it was brought on because of the color of Campbell’s skin.
“We’re already counted out. I was counted out before I was even count it in,” she said. “I was always told you’re gonna live a low income, you’re not gonna make it, you’re going to have a bunch of kids.”
But that pain also because of life itself.
“When I was 24 I was diagnosed with Lupus,” Campbell explained. “I lost a lot of my confidence and sexy.”
Campbell says that’s when her journey to healing began.
“I was like you know what I’m not going to let my weight determine who I am. I’m going to do this I got this,” she said. “When I went through that I knew there was a lot of women that probably go through that, so I opened up the store.”
But then came tragedy.
In August, Campbell’s 20-year-old son got into a car accident.
“We had to make the decision to amputate the bottom of his left leg,” Campbell said. “I gotta make him believe that it’s going to be okay and honestly when I walk away, I don’t know.”
She and her son now healing together, while her business tries to fight off a pandemic.
“It’s like I’m saving both of their lives.”
And she’s not alone.
“Black owned businesses are closing at almost double the rate of any other small owned business owners,” said Erica Woods, state public policy manager for Facebook.
An August study by the Federal Reserve bank of New York showed two-thirds of black businesses are in regions with the highest levels of COVID -19 cases.
“Before COVID-19 business owners would showcase their new products and their services now they’re just trying to let folks know that they’re open and it’s safe to shop there,” Woods said. “We knew that we certainly wanted to do our part.”
So, Facebook is doing just that by offering an online gift guide for users to support minority and #BuyBlack for the holidays. The initiative will carry on through the end of the year.
“You can use the hashtag for some of your favorite local businesses as well and their products will generate under the hashtag,” Woods explained.
That support goes a long way. Campbell says it’s what kept her above water as a business owner over the past six years and it’s what will help others survive tough times.
“It’s enough already so just kind of help each other it’s time to help each other. You can’t do it by yourself.”