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Supporting Black Businesses: A Candid Chat with Wine Styles' Ron Frieson

The closing of Wine Styles is a big blow to Cascade Heights and evidence, again, that African-Americans do not invest in their own community. Frieson is trying; What about the rest of us?

Former BellSouth Georgia President Ron Frieson has invested time, money and sweat equity into our community.

But, like so many before him, he is closing one of his businesses—Wine Styles on Cascade—on Dec. 31st because so few people supported his enterprise.

You all know the spiel by now: Go to another other neighbhorhood—white, Asian, Latino, East Indian—and you see thriving businesses owned by people who live there. Drive through the business districts of most African-American neighborhoods and you see boarded up storefronts, vacant lots, blight.

Why?

Cascade Patch put Frieson on the spot and asked him to share his view.

Watch the video clip here and, if you care about this issue, tell us why—in 2011—we spend so much money in other communities but do not back our own, even when they are well—stocked and well-managed.

Frieson has tried and is still trying, with Landon's Restaurant and Bar. But he cannot do it alone.

Tell us what you think about this serious black business issue in comments.

Wanda Holliday December 20, 2011 at 07:02 PM
Hi Ron! You are absolutely correct. If we(the largest group of consumers) would be as kind to our neighborhood businesses, as we are to others, it will make a difference. I plan to do better, because I am a guilty participant, and we must lead by example.
Lori Gaston December 21, 2011 at 02:01 AM
I believe if our communities were more like our northern cities, like Chicago, New York and Los Angeles where you have an influx of mass cultures and independant businesses, we would be more appreciative of the art galleries, frame shops, classy resturants and entertainment venues that open up in our communities. It always amazes me how we will welcome such establishments, like Applebees, Home Depot, Publix all these establishments that are honestly owned by corporations headed up by whites. But, we will not support like businesses owned by us that offer some of the same products. For this reason is why as a Native Atlantian has not returned to Atlanta to pursue my career as a Fine Artist. We just do not support each other. Especially, if it is not something out of the ordinary like a hair salon or food shack. Just shameful!!!!
Lori Gaston December 21, 2011 at 02:25 AM
I totally agree with you. As much as I love my people, we will not support each other. I hate to say it but, I will focusing my efforts towards the white market from now own. (LOL)
Glen McDaniel December 21, 2011 at 02:35 AM
Interesting interview, Janita. Thanks for following up fo Patch. Like others, I was curious to hear Mr Frieson's reasons for closing Wine Styles. I patronized the business and although I was not a wine club member I did attend monthly events there. I also acquired a few nice bottles of wine there as well. I love the idea of having classy, upscale businesses in our neighborhood. It's convenient (why spend time, effort and gas driving to Buckhead when I have the same offering in my neighborhood?). Businesses such as Wine Styles also add cache and value to a neighborhood. Everyone who lives in the community shares in the benefits. I would remind black business owners that it takes more than being "one of us" to earn someone's business and loyalty. Inept, sullen service, lack of customer appreciation,and inferior quality do not deserve loyalty. Luckily Wine Styles was not one such business, but in my time in Atlanta, I have encountered many black businesses offering lousy, lousy products or services. Those do not deserve any one's patronage. I am just happy Frieson will continue to invest in the community and wont pull out altogether.
Magaline Harvey January 04, 2012 at 07:00 AM
I don't drink Wine and due to "The Patch" really finding out what's in my backyard. I've not heard of "Landon's" either. I know Ron from being a former employee of his at Bell South. I believe that the businesses that are in this neighborhood need to meet the needs of the people that are here. I'm sure Wine Styles was classy and have not doubt about it but probably would have been better in an area that would patronize it more often such as happy hours after work or cocktails in busy business districts. I don't believe that the Cascade area is one of those busy business districts.

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