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'It's all pure Black ownership:' Seattle woman creates directory highlighting Black-owned businesses in Seattle

Justice Jones started "Black Pages" in 2019 to highlight Black-owned businesses throughout Seattle. The directory is available in print or online.

SEATTLE — Justice Jones is doing her part to elevate black businesses.

Page-by-page in a small room in Seattle’s University District, Jones works on "Black Pages," a community-focused not-for-profit directory of local black businesses in the Seattle and greater Seattle area.

Jones has lived in this area for a decade, after moving from Philadelphia for college. 

Jones said the black community lives off of each other in Philadelphia. When she was growing up, Jones said Black-owned businesses were much more common than in Seattle.

Our 'Cultivating Culture' series is highlighting Black culture in western Washington

“It’s not just a feeling of safety and acceptance," Jones said. "It's all-pure black ownership. And so everyone that’s inside of our book are black business owners, black business operators. And obviously, we’re trying to recirculate the black dollar within our community as many times as possible.”

The idea for Black Pages came to her in 2017 when Jones started visiting a Japanese restaurant on Capitol Hill.

“They had directories on the door with all the Asian businesses in Seattle," Jone said. "And, so I thought that was really cool, and I was wondering why don’t we have something like that for the black community.”

Jones could not find a Black version of the Asian directory, so she created it. Her first black pages were a digital launch in 2019.

But then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Jones started with around 80 businesses but lost about 50% of her clients at the beginning of 2020.

According to CNBC, black-owned businesses declined by 41% between February and April 2020, compared to a 17% decline among white-owned businesses.

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As the pandemic disproportionately affected Black-owned businesses, Jones said that's why it's so important to have Black-owned spaces in the community.

“I feel like having autonomy in our community and the black community is extremely important," Jones said. "You can live black for a year straight if you felt like it. The only thing that’s separating people from doing that is the knowledge of where to go.”

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Jones said this is the first year since the pandemic that there is a physical version of "Black Pages." For the past few years, Jones said she was providing a digital program and an app that charged $1 per download. 

"Black Pages" features everything from lawyers to grocery stores to bookstores to artists and bands, she said.

One of the businesses featured in the directory is Christ-E Boxing Dojo in North Seattle.

The owner Solomon Prince is from the Central District.

“The city of Seattle, you know where our so-called Black population isn’t too big," Prince said. "But, I feel we have a lot of entrepreneurs here that don’t get the light that should be shined upon us.”

Jones is that spotlight. A one-woman show that is a passion project.

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“You can live black for a year straight if you felt like it," Jones said. "The only thing that’s separating people from doing that is the knowledge of where to go."

Right now, that spotlight is only on Seattle entrepreneurs, but Jones plans to expand across Washington state and eventually the west coast.


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