LOUISVILLE, Ky. — R&B, rap and hip-hop’s biggest stars fill the aisles at Better Days Records West in Louisville’s west end.
Ben Jones has owned the store for over 40 years and says his two locations are two of only 38 Black-owned record shops in the country.
“That’s one of the unique parts about it. You know, we find, especially in the east end, there’s always vintage consignment, but there’s never been a used record store in the west end of Louisville, until I moved down here,” Jones said.
Mayor Craig Greenberg, D-Louisville, says Black residents make up 22% of Louisville’s population. But less than 3% of the city’s business are Black owned.
On Sept. 29, Greenberg announced Keisha Dorsey as the executive director of the Equity in Contracting and Procurement Task Force.
The task force aims to increase partnerships and opportunities between Black-owned businesses and public and private infrastructure investors.
“Equity will be a guiding principle in Louisville’s economic strategy for the future. That means we must do more to make sure the economy of the future reaches every Louisville neighborhood, in ways we haven’t seen in the past,” Greenberg said.
Jones says he hasn’t had to rely on support from Metro Government to help his business succeed, but when he has tried, there were some frustrations.
“It didn’t matter what new structure or what way something was done, it is still based on collateral, versus credit score, versus who’s going to lend you the money,” Jones said.
The task force also aims to make sure investments are distributed equitably among Black-owned and minority-owned businesses.
“We know there is more to do to create the economy of the future to ensure that it helps all people in Louisville for the economy everyone deserves,” Greenberg said.
Jones hasn’t seen the Black-owned businesses Metro says it is going to support.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about anything except for I always hear about ways that our community, our city, our government has things for Black businesses. And then my question is always what and where are the Black businesses that you say you want to support,” Jones said.
Jones hopes that this time around, Black businesses see the results of the city’s efforts.
On Tuesday Oct. 10, the city will host a matchmaker event to help business owners, suppliers and contractors to engage with each other.