SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A local business in Savannah is asking for the community’s support as they grapple with financial struggles.
The Culturist Union opened its doors on Bull Street about three months ago. It’s a dream that owner Elbi Elm spent three years crowdfunding to make a reality.
Elm describes her store as a “cultural hub,” showcasing the work of 50 local Black artisans while brewing up cups of coffee. The Culturist Union is one-of-a-kind, being the first Black-owned coffee shop in Savannah.
“Far too often we hear about the disparities between Black-owned businesses and how hard it is for us to receive the resources and the capital that we do,” Elm said. “Any Black-owned business or minority-owned or woman-owned business should be championed. Not because we’re Black-owned, but because we’re Black-owned and we’re excellent.”
A study from the Small Business Administration shows Black Americans are underrepresented as business owners and often face more financial hurdles.
Elm explained it can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to start a business, forcing her to turn to grants, loans and her own personal savings to make her dream a reality.
“Because we started in a deficit, our numbers and our traction needed to happen a lot sooner or we were not going to be able to keep the doors open,” she said. “Just like any other normal business, it takes a while to get some traction. Right now we’re about at 40 customers a day. We need to be at you know around 120 customers a day.”
Record inflation isn’t helping the situation either.
“When we first started, you know our coffee was one price – it’s now doubled,” Elm said. “Everything has gone up from the cups that we serve to the sugar that we buy to the vanilla.”
Elm said she’s worked too hard to let her business fall and is now calling on Savannahians for their support.
“We’re asking the community to come out, check TCU out,” she said. “Bring a friend, have some coffee, host your business meetings.”
The Culturist Union is hosting a number of events throughout July to help boost business. You can click here to see the full list.