Meridian has several successful black business owners ranging from barbershops, restaurants, legal assistance and nonprofit organizations.
“Been in business for 57 years. Love it. We’re the second generation and it’s three generations of us and I love it,” said Kevin Lewis, Jenkins Barbershop owner. ” I get the chance to represent people that other sometimes wouldn’t represent and just this morning I thought about you’re innocent until proven guilty,” said Joseph Denson. Fifth street is historical. It once was the booming spot for several black business entrepreneurs and is why many owners are continuing that legacy today.
“I remember being younger and going downtown and just seeing some amazing things. Going to get my haircut at Jenkins Barbershop, Youngs Barbershop and a whole lot of other things and shopping at a great store, “said James Carter, The Carter Foundation founder. Today, The Meridian Minority Business Alliance exists and focuses on economic welfare and forming relationships with other black owned businesses. “It’s quite helpful because my wife and I, we travel quite a bit and we talk with other businesses and we get ideas and things that they tell us,” said Dennis Huggins Jr, Mom & Pops Soul Food owner.
Like any business comes trying times. “You have to hang on in there don’t give up,” Jenkins said. “I started in 2005 with a borrowed desk, a borrowed computer, and a filling cabinet that my mom brought me. Fifteen years later you’re interviewing me in my own business.” Remaining hopeful is something that non-profit organization owner James Carter says he believed in from the beginning. “My job was to show the community that I was serious, and perseverance is the key. They're going to be good times, bad times you have to take the bitter with the sweet,” Carter said.