Like many other states in the U.S., Nevada has been lop-sided in the business playing field. A vast majority of businesses are still owned by white men. They have had more time in the industry, able to stock up on assets in case of a rainy day.
Because most minority-owned businesses are in their earlier stages, they are more prone to economic dangers. When Covid-19 swept the nation earlier this year, a significant shut-down occurred, and the economy halted, leaving business hanging by a thread. In terms of Black American owned businesses in Nevada, a vast majority are service-based, the sector that Covid-19 hit the hardest. As Nevada’s former VP of NAACP Frank Hawkins put it, “When white America gets a cold, black America gets pneumonia.”
A Call for Diversity
Diversity is at the core of American Business. It is perhaps the nation with the most diversity within a limited space, encompassing several nationalities. The scales are not as far tipped to one side as they once were, with Nevada’s government, like many others, providing opportunities to help birth minority-owned businesses. As of late, the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), has promised to take a more aggressive approach toward the availability of resources out there for minorities. This includes women, veterans, and minority groups like Black and Asian Americans. As the nation’s capital of service-driven jobs, Nevada only has about 98,800 women-owned businesses.
It’s hard to be a minority in America. Tensions have been on the rise as the entire nation turns its attention to the lack of equality. The year 2020 has been a huge turning point for Black Americans, as the Black Lives Matter soared due to consecutive injustices. Add Covid-19 into the mix, and you’ve got a strong barrier that is difficult to breakthrough. It takes a unique drive to be successful both as a business and a minority, one that a small all-black, all-female company out of Reno Nevada has in abundance.
Despite the apparent hardships of being both black and female, Pamela Loveless found her way to opening PKL Homes, a successful short-term lodging enterprise based out of Reno. PKL Homes broke ground in 2017, quickly becoming known for their luxurious properties and added luxuries that made business stays a dream. Much of their success came from partnerships with luxury companies that add the finishing touches to each property. On top of that, they were a spotlight for being both an all-black and all-female run business.
As they have grown in reputation and available properties, they’ve scored a 4.8 rating and added an additional ‘Wow Factor’ option for high-quality stays that include luxurious meals, eye-catching décor buried in some of Renos most sought-after neighborhoods. The obstacles of being both black and female were no match for Loveless, as she worked her way up the ladder. It wasn’t until recently that she too began to feel the pressures, as buried wounds of discrimination and inequality made their way out of burying grounds. 2020 shed a whole new light on the issue of race equality, exposing a long-running stint of racism felt particularly in the South. PKL Homes was not left out of the ring, left to fight their own battles. Her skin color has made her a target for accusations about the nature of her business, both pointing out her outer characteristics.
Black Businesses Matter
Luckily, the properties available from PKL Homes were nowhere near looters that took to the streets after the death of George Floyd. Many of these small shops on the path of the riots were destroyed only a few weeks after Covid-19 closures. While racial tensions have relaxed a bit, the entire world is still on edge, unsure what the ‘new normal’ will bring. The nation is at the edge of their seats, watching and waiting for what’s to come. In terms of business, months of closures, historical low stocks, and decreased movement worldwide have reduced revenue and pumped the breaks on spending. We still haven’t felt the effects of half of the world unable to work, leaving the future very unclear. It was hard before as a minority; now it hard for everyone, regardless of color or sex.
All-Black and All-Female in 2020
So, what does running a double disadvantaged business take? As a black woman in America in 2020, Loveless is feeling the tensions. Economic development was going in Nevada’s right direction, with a 3.3% bump up from 2017. Emphasis by the Latino, black and Asian chapters of business equality committees started to pay off, as each chapter celebrated their new bouts of success. With things up in the air, the nation is at a stand-still, leaving economists, entrepreneurs, and investors frozen in their place. 2020 is not the year for a minority-run business, especially with many struggling already. An all-black, all-female business is not impossible but comes with challenges along the way. Loveless is a great example to follow for the women of color out there, hoping to run their own business one day. She is positive about the current situations, claiming that this is a sort of ‘learning experience’ for all of us.
In terms of race and discrimination, they are both the ‘elephant in the room’ that was long left untouched. It seems like the entire world has woken up, hit with a small taste of what it means to be black in America. What does this mean for minority businesses of the future? Many are left unsure. Nevada, just the U.S and much of the world are hard at work trying to keep the foundation from crumbling. Even with government assistance, many businesses are crumbling, toying with the question of whether or not they should hold on or let go. We are collectively looking toward 2021 as a year of recovery, on the way to building a more unified yet diverse fusion of successful businesses of all types.