Enduring African-American businesses in Raleigh honored

pseligson@newsobserver.comFebruary 22, 2014 

Not many small businesses make it for more than 25 years.

Seventeen such businesses, all owned by African-Americans, were honored at a Black History Month luncheon on Saturday. The businesses are all in the North Central Citizens Advisory Council area, which hosted its 15th annual Celebrating Legacies event at the Tarboro Road Community Center.

These business owners are all part of the northern area of downtown Raleigh, stretching through New Bern Avenue, and have given back to their community for years.

“They are still surviving,” said Octavia Rainey, chairwoman of the council. Rainey said these businesses are integral to the city as it continues to grow. The owners are also role models for youth throughout the year, not just Black History Month, she said.

“It is saying to our youth, ‘You can do this, too. Here is your legacy. There is no excuse for you not to be successful because they have made a foundation and you can’t forget that foundation,’ ” she said.

The luncheon also honored the historical St. Agnes Hospital’s transition to an integrated WakeMed and a local youth, Treshawn Boyd, for his involvement in the community, his passion and enthusiasm.

Paulette Pope Mac accepted an award for her mother, Ira Dell Poe, who started two businesses, including Poe Rental Properties. Her mother has died, and Mac said accepting the award is a great honor for her family.

Her mother lived in the area her whole life and always served the community, she said. The luncheon’s focus on youth is great, Mac said. “It serves as an incentive for them, and I hope it serves also to keep them heading in the right direction, to help keep them focused,” she said.

Seligson: 919-836-5768

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