MILWAUKEE (SPECTRUM NEWS) -- A Wisconsin nonprofit that just launched this year is reaching out to Black business owners, in some cases, to help them stay open after being damaged during protests or closed for Safer at Home.

Rebecca Burrell's salon was open one day before her business was damaged during the unrest last week.  Her windows were busted and her booth was burned which caused fire damage to the roof.  "... then it caused severe water damage because the sprinkler system went off," she explained.



Burrell owns The Hair-em on 54th and Fond du Lac.  She's not sure just how much it will cost to rebuild, but some of the money needed to fix her salon will come from a Wisconsin nonprofit that officially launched earlier this year.

Paul Wellington is the cofounder of MKE Black.  The app helps consumers find Black-owned businesses in Milwaukee.  These days MKE Black is helping some of those owners with property damage and also those struggling after being closed for Safer at Home.

Wellington told us, "businesses in black neighborhoods, their neighborhoods have less spending power so when something like this hits, as a pandemic, it's very tough for them to survive."

Donations have come in from as far away as California to support local owners, something Wellington called heartwarming.  

"Having this platform that spreads across the nation is really great to see for us right now."




Burrell said she's glad MKE Black is in place for things like this right now.  Her attitude is, "it's just stuff, stuff can be replaced." 

Her shop is still boarded up, but Burrell is making the best of a bad situation.  She brought in Art Saves Lives MKE to turn plywood into messages of solidarity.  Burrell told us, "this is where we are, I'm not going to get distracted I just have to stay focused." 

MKE Black is also hoping to give Black owners more visibility and expand clientele to everyone in the city, bringing in community support to help owners get back on their feet.

To help support Black-owned businesses in Milwaukee, click here or donate to their GoFundMe page

If you own a Black business and need support: