Businesses have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic—and that includes Southwest Soda Pop Shop, a Black women-owned ice cream shop that fell on difficult times due to COVID-19.
The Black Lives Matter protest has brought forth a wave of support for Black-owned businesses across the country. Southwest Soda Pop Shop, a family-owned ice cream shop, opened in 2018. The shop is operated by sisters Andrea, Brianna, Brittany, and Lena Jones, as well as their father, Darryl.
When the closure caused "great financial devastation," Andrea turned to Twitter for support.
PLEASE HELP US SAVE OUR BUSINESS. We are a black female owned Ice cream shop located in SW DC @TheWharfDC we had to remain closed due to the pandemic resulting in great financial devistation. Black businesses are so important,especially right now .RT and spread the word. pic.twitter.com/69cCyMLzgT— . (@feelthatdrea) June 5, 2020
Jones' tweet went viral, and people flocked in droves—both online and in-person—to support their business.
"Am I about to drive across the entire United States just to get ice cream from this place in particular? Probably," said one Twitter user.
The Jones family was able to raise over $25,000 via GoFundMe to help keep their store open. Lines were wrapped around the block. Brittany felt "overwhelmed by joy" by the community's willingness to engage with their store. She also intends to give back, once things settle down.
"I am a school teacher and one of my main things was to give back to the kids, because a lot of kids throughout this quarantine have not been able to eat the way they eat at school, so once our bills are taken care of, the next thing is to feed the community," she added. "You can’t do anything if you don’t eat."