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Community raises $20,000 to keep black-owned business from closing

Darryl Jones and his four daughters opened up Soda Pop Shop at the Wharf two years ago, but their business legacy in D.C. dates back 30 years.

WASHINGTON — There is a growing call to support black-owned businesses in the District, but some black businesses are struggling to even reopen their doors right now. The Jones’ family and their 30-year legacy of business ownership at the Wharf was one of them. 

Darryl Jones and his four daughters opened up the Soda Pop Shop at the Wharf two years ago.

"We have always been a very very close-knit family, so for us to be in this together means a lot," Brittany Jones, one of Darryl's daughters, said. 

When the coronavirus pandemic caused the mayor to enact the stay at home order in D.C., the Jones’ had to close up shop.

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"Having to shut down because of the pandemic, it was scary, to be honest with you," Brittany said. "Anybody knows that when you have a business, you go through it for two years at least before you start seeing any kind of profit."

In order to keep the business afloat, the Jones’ said they had to let go of all of their employees on the payroll. But, they said even that wasn’t enough to make ends meet. So the family said they applied for the Paycheck Protection Program through the CARES Act, but they said they were denied funding.

"We are owned and operated, so one of the sacrifices that we had to make was not paying ourselves," Brittany said. "Not being on payroll [means] there was nothing [for the PPP] to provide in terms of payroll."

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Without any money coming into the shop, they were nervous about having to close down altogether, ending a decades-long family legacy of business ownership down at the Wharf.

"My godfather, who is passed away now, he came here in 1965, or something like that, and then he started the fish cleaning place," Darryl said 

When Darryl took ownership of the fish cleaning business, he noticed it wasn’t as profitable anymore, so he decided to use some of the equipment he already had, but change the business plan a little bit. And that’s how the Southwest Soda Pop Shop came to be.

RELATED: 4 sisters help father achieve dream at the DC Wharf

"I used to have like 30 soda machines sitting around that building," Darryl said. "That’s why we called it Southwest Soda Pop Shop."

On June 5, they set up a GoFundMe page asking for $10,000.

"The money that is raised in the GoFundMe will be used for rent," Brittany said. "It will be used for electric and for product." 

life is like an ice cream cone take it one lick at a time . While we have all faced unforeseen Events due to covid 19 we like so many families and small businesses find ourselves challenged during this pandemic.

Within three days, the community has come together to raise double what was asked for, with $20,000 raised. Now, the family said they plan to use the extra funds to pay it forward by helping feed the homeless and kids who aren’t getting meals at school right now.

The Southwest Soda Pop Shop is back open for business from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. seven days a week.

RELATED: D.C. and Northern Virginia have first full day in phase one, first time many can sit down at a restaurant again

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