(From Left to Right): Maxine Ransom von Phul, Winmax Construction Corp. CEO, Brad Johnson, Restauranteur/Owner of Post & Beam Restaurant & Jacque Bee, Co-ExecutiveDirector of Recycling Black Dollars
Recycling Black Dollars met with Black businesses for a networking function at a local restaurant.
By Brian W. Carter, Sentinel Staff Writer
On Tuesday, February 7, Recycling Black Dollars (RBD) held a networking breakfast for local Black businesses at one of the neighborhood restaurants on Crenshaw Blvd. Business entrepreneurs and owners met and conversed with one another over breakfast while discussing the importance of circulating black dollars throughout the neighborhood. They were introduced personally to two guest speakers responsible for the renewing of the Crenshaw District.
Jacque Bee, Co-Executive Director of RBD led the meeting, which was well attended. Most of the attention fell on the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza (BHCP), which has recently seen a complete renovation that transformed the mall and its surroundings into a modern-day shopping experience.
Owner of the new, Post and Beam Restaurant, Brad Johnson, was present to talk about the importance of keeping the black dollar in the neighborhood, and about black employment.
Johnson was confronted by someone in his restaurant about not seeing enough African Americans working in his restaurant. Johnson shared his experience about that very subject with the audience.
“I have to tell you, my 30 years in the restaurant business, going back to New York… very rarely do I get through my doors, an African American male looking for a service position—bartender, waiter,” said Johnson. “These are good paying jobs but for some reason, maybe its servitude, psychological, whatever.
“We’re leaving these jobs on the table. So when [I] go to open a restaurant at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza and I advertise… where you need to go when looking for a job, and you don’t know [where to go and look]; that’s your problem and if you don’t come to me, I can’t hire you.
“You want to support it, you want to recycle black dollars, and you want to see Black folks employed. But what is that entrepreneur supposed to do to get Black men, [who are looking for jobs], to come through the door?”
Johnson is an experienced restaurateur, having followed in the footsteps of his father, a renowned restaurateur. He has opened multiple restaurants both here and on the East Coast including Memphis, a New Orleans inspired restaurant on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and Roxbury, a tri-level restaurant, jazz bar and dance club in West Hollywood, California.
Maxine Ransom von Phul is the woman responsible for building the new Post and Beam Restaurant. Her construction company, Winmax Construction Corporation, based in Leimert Park, built the restaurant from the ground up.
Von Phul is one of the first Black, women to be a general building contractor and was the first to start a construction business in California 30 years ago. She also has the first female- owned constriction company that has built a supermarket in the U.S., a Vons supermarket in Compton.
“Anybody that needs a commercial project built, please call me,” said von Phul. “We would be very, very happy to build your project.”
The RBD breakfast served as a positive way to insure black dollars circulation in the community by introducing Black businesses and entrepreneurs to one another.