Many of you have commended OUR TIME PRESS for our stories on current, historical and local events. The articles on reparations have been extremely well received and we are grateful for your comments and encouragement.
However, for the Month of March, we’re going to take a “commercial break” and tell you about our advertisers. Because this paper is free to you, it is our advertisers who make it possible for us to pay our bills and bring you the best paper we can. They don’t do this just because they feel the information we bring to you is important, they do it to bring to your attention the services and goods they have to offer. They need our support to build their businesses and we need their businesses to build our communities. We also need them to deliver the best possible service in a competitive marketplace, so don’t be hesitant about making suggestions as to the kind of service and product selection you want and expect. Give them the opportunity fulfill your needs.
Many of you already support our advertisers and we are grateful for that. However, statistics say that many do not. African Americans spend the fewest dollars in our own community of any ethnic group. The stock market is booming, and yet Black stores and offices are not sharing in the booming economy. And in many cases, it’s not because the owners are not “ready”, not up to “standard” or any of the other rationalizations used.
The small businesses in these pages are owned by people who are expert in their craft or service. Their ice is as cold as any other ethnic groups ice. Take Spice Island Kids as an example. Here, Mrs. Joseph and her sister offer school uniforms that are indistinguishable from those purchased at non-African American stores. There is no reason why Spice Island Kids is not the recommended supplier of uniforms for private schools in our community.
Regarding price – We know the importance of every dollar today, but everything cannot be reduced to dollars and cents. There are moral and racial concerns that transcend the dollar. We see that in effect in white corporations all the time. In fact, Anti-discrimination and Affirmative Action laws had to be passed and enforcement agencies created, because white-owned businesses make these judgements all the time. Because white employers have a continuing history of looking beyond merit, and qualifications. Africans in the Americas have to also look beyond the occasional dollar price difference, and look at the convenience of shopping in the neighborhood, and the jobs that are generated by your doing that. For example, look at the Brothers Community Hardware on Myrtle Avenue. They recently moves to a larger space and have all the hardware supplies that you, your church or your business may need. Call and ask for Mel or Bob. If you now do your shopping at Home Depot, or Adami or Weinstein’s or Sid’s, consider giving Brothers Hardware some of your business, particularly with spring fix-up right around the corner. If you can’t do it yourself, call Perry Patterson, of “We Are Handy”. Perry will come with his van of gadgets and thingamajigs, and fix what’s broken around the house, and do those odd-jobs that need doing. With Perry you have a professional Mr. Fixit who stands behind his work.
Dentist Dr. Charles Grannum, has been in every issue of Our Time Press from the beginning. His modern offices at 136 St. James Place are always busy with two state-of-the-art operating rooms. Dr. Grannum is joined in his practice by Dr. Bolden, Periodontist, (specialist in gum diseases), and Dr. Kevin Johnson, Endodontist (root canal specialist).
For foot problems you could walk a few blocks to see Podiatrist, Dr. Dennis Castillo at De Kalb and Washington. The doctor and his wife Victoria, run a very efficient office, and Dr. Castillo is affiliated with SUNY Health Science Center, The Brooklyn Hospital Center and Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center. If you are a diabetic, it is important that you take care of your feet. A stubbed toe or ingrown nail can lead to losing a foot or a leg.
Tax time is here and if you don’t do them yourself, have them done by accounting professionals that are in practice the whole year, and did not just spring up for the season. Barton, Greene and Vance on So. Oxford Place, James & Scott on Court Street, and Lillian’s Accounting Services on Fulton Street, all have businesses that you can count on and hold accountable.
When we support African American businesses, we are not just reading about reparations, we are demonstrating our seriousness by taking the dollars from our pockets to build the community we envision for ourselves. In the past, African-Americans have been accused of suffering from the “paralysis of analysis”. We have studied in great detail the nature of our oppression in the United States and can cite chapter and verse the obstacles that are put in front of us. Supporting Black businesses is one way that everyone can join in the fight and bring the obstacles down. As an attendee at a recent economic conference said, “It makes no difference how much information we put on the table, it makes no difference hom much each of us knows, unless it moves us to change our behavior.” One of the patterns to change are the choices we make as we shop.
To help see the choices more clearly, Ray Hammond and David Youngblood have opened Clinton Hill Opticians on Myrtle Avenue. With 18 years as an optician, Ray is now bringing his services to the community. They have several showcases of brand name frames and they can help you select the right frames for you. Clinton Hill Opticians has the mirrors, the small chairs, the carpet on the floor and the eye exam equipment. The only difference is that the owners are African-American men; don’t worry, you’ll get used to it. Call for an appointment to see the Optometrist on Fridays and Saturdays. (P.S., they give 20% off with your union card, and 10% off for children).
Two doors down on Myrtle, is OBE computer services. If you’re working on a newsletter, paper or any project where you need pictures and images processed for print, check them out. They have MAC’s and IBM’s to rent, color copiers, Cyclone and Fiery printers, scanners, zip drives, 11 x 17 printers, etc. It’s like having a Kinko’s near home. They’ll do business cards, letterheads and work with you to get your advertising copy camera-ready.
There is a lot of real estate activity taking place in Fort Greene/Clinton Hill, and Barbara Haynes can help with your buying, selling or renting. If your looking in Stuyvesant Heights, then Stuvesant Heights Brokerage owner Charles Atwell may have the home or apartment for you. If you know someone who’s moved in, and you’re shopping for a house-warming gift, a gift in general (either for yourself or someone special), then Zawadi Gift Shop on Atlantic Avenue, or 4W Circle on Fulton Street, have all the cards, gifts, memorabilia, dolls, earrings, jewelry, crafts, etc. that you can ever need.
When it comes to computers, you can buy them or fix them by shopping in Our Time Press. The Ivey League has good deals on computer systems, and Leon The Computer Doctor makes house calls when you feel your machine is just flirting with disaster, or falls head over heels and crashes. (Of course everyone does regular backups so a crash is just a momentary glitch, right?) Leon can also upgrade your system, and let it know you care.
When you hear a variation of the following phrases, “it’s a steal at $150,000” “You have the right to remain silent.” “You are directed to appear…”, “In 30 days you will vacate…” you know your life is about to change and you need a lawyer. Cheryl ‘Ife Griffin is a community attorney you can call for your general legal concerns. Sultana Ali is a para-legal offering rates on divorces and name changes. (Sultana called to say the ad is really working well for her. It made us go….Hmmmm.) For immigration concerns, and mal-practice, David Scheinfeld’s the man. His office is a virtual United Nations of lawyers, para-legals, etc.