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Ladder to Minority Business Success is in Danger

Don’t Take Away the Ladder to Success for Aspiring Minority Small Business Owners

Dexter and Djenane Bartholomew own seven Golden Corral franchises, with five in Kentucky and two in New Jersey. The couple has been married for 17 years and sponsors several community youth organizations at their home in New Jersey. Djenane, who is a registered nurse, also volunteers at a mobile clinic each year on a trip to her native Haiti.

Dexter and Djenane Bartholomew own seven Golden Corral franchises, with five in Kentucky and two in New Jersey. The couple has been married for 17 years and sponsors several community youth organizations at their home in New Jersey. Djenane, who is a registered nurse, also volunteers at a mobile clinic each year on a trip to her native Haiti.

By Djenane Bartholomew

Every day my husband and I make decisions that affect the lives of 450 people and their families. It’s a lot of responsibility but above all a labor of love. It is all part of being local franchise owners and living our American dream. The franchise model has been a gateway for millions of people over the years to achieve small business ownership, many of them from racial or ethnic minority groups. It is important to not only preserve, but to strengthen this business model.
My husband came from Grenada and worked for UPS for over 20 years. As a young man, he had the foresight to invest in a property in Brooklyn which grew in value over the years. Blessed with some money when we sold it, we considered how to invest our good fortune into a new livelihood and soon discovered that franchising was the way to go for us.
We started with Subway sandwich shops, then added Dunkin’ Donuts and Popeye’s Chicken and Buscuit but migrated to casual sit-down dining that did not include alcohol. The folks at Golden Corral shared our values and this began our journey to ownership, which ended with seven Golden Corral locations, five in Kentucky and two in New Jersey.
Franchising is a unique business arrangement. Golden Corral provides a known brand which includes a logo, advertising and marketing, and specifications on everything from the 160-item buffet/salad bar to the The Chocolate Wonderfall fondue dipping fountain. Instead of the challenge of starting a business from scratch, with franchise ownership our customers know what to expect when they walk through our doors.
Just the same, we are the bosses in the best sense of the word. We recruit, hire and train our staff. We are responsible for maintenance and watch the receipts so we can compete in our local community marketplace. We are responsible for schedules, wages and encouraging the members of our team to do their best work. It has been a pleasure to see people grow professionally. In fact, we have now employed the children of our employees and many see working for us not merely as a job but as a career.
This small business franchise model, which has worked so well for my family and other minority entrepreneurs, is in danger of being upended. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is trying to change the definition of “joint employer.”
This is more than just a technical issue. If Golden Corral is considered a joint employer, my husband and I would lose control over the day-to-day issues at our restaurants. If Golden Corral and their locally-owned franchise owners morph into one big employer, we could lose our restaurants – and with it the hard work and money we’ve put into them – altogether, as Golden Corral could be forced to assume direct control over the day-to-day operations of our restaurants. This would be a tragedy for us and our employees because they are not just part of our businesses, but part of our family.
I also worry about aspiring entrepreneurs who might be looking at owning a franchise themselves. Why would men and women looking at franchising consider it if the core of what makes it a proven and workable business model is removed? This would prevent jobs from being created and businesses expanded, in an industry that has been growing faster than the general economy in recent years.
What’s more, according to a 2007 report from the International Franchise Association, 20.5% of franchised businesses were owned by minorities, compared to 14.2% of non-franchised businesses. A little more than ten years ago they made up just five percent of franchise owners. Franchising works for people who may have faced barriers to succeeding with their own businesses and policymakers should encourage this trend.
If the franchise model is shattered by the NLRB’s revised definition of joint employer, instead of an economy populated with small business operators from all walks of life, we would likely see large corporations consolidating operations with big, regional companies created by buying up small business operations like ours.
These challenges will have a negative impact on the independent, entrepreneurial spirit that has helped fuel America’s growth and economic recovery, and has paved the way for thousands to achieve their dreams of running their own businesses and serving their own communities.

“My Sweet Valentine!”

Lou Coleman

Lou Coleman

By Lou Coleman

“I found Him whom my soul loveth: I held Him, and would not let Him go” {Song of Solomon 3}…  I want you to know that “My Beloved is mine, and I am His…” A love I never dreamed possible… Oh Lord, my heart belongs to you alone! Take me now and let me be the bride who will bring you great joy. Cause me each day of my life to walk so closely to you that I will experience your intimacy which will begin to change me into your blessed image forever.…. Oh when I contemplate the rich love of Jesus I am drawn to Him like iron to the magnet… I tell you, to be loved by Jesus is literally an indescribable thing.  God demonstrating His own love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. I don’t know about you but this text ministers powerfully to my heart. If you want a visible definition of love, look at what God did for you in Christ…  If you really want to understand love, don’t listen to love songs, or people who throw the term love around… If you want to get to the depths of what it means to love and be loved, look to the cross of Christ. The cross is the ultimate expression of God’s incomprehensible love to us… For the cross is God’s way of saying, “I love you this much,” with His arms outstretched. His final words etched on a Roman cross. They are blood red. They scream to be heard… I tell you I have been captured by love…  A love that knows no limits, no bounds, and no end… JesusMy Sweet Valentine!

You know there have been many definitions of love. There have been many people who have written books about love. There are songs about love. There are poems about love. There are discussions about love. But when you’ve said it all and you’ve read it all and you’ve sung it all, you just might wonder “What Love Got to Do with It,” because the things they talk about, sing about and write about really aren’t about love at all, but rather about affection, longing, goose-bumps types of emotional thrills. The love they talk about runs hot, it runs cold, and it runs lukewarm. It brings tears of joy, tears of depression, and screams of excitement and hollers of disappointment. The Bible however, addresses aGreater Love” that uses an entirely different term than “philo.” That term is “Agape.” The difference, Agape is a love characterized by commitment.  If you believe in Jesus Christ, don’t think of His love for you merely in terms of the love He has for the world. Think of the love that takes captive and cleaves and unites and cherishes and defends. Think of a marriage covenant between you and God in which He has sworn by His Holiness to love you with a saving, cleansing, and glorifying love. Remember His Words in Psalm 89:34 that says, “I will not violate My covenant, or alter the word that went forth from My lips.” This is what we long for, and this is what we have by faith, an experience of being loved with a love that lasts, that is not fickle, or uncertain, or capricious, but durable, constant, and stable. Not, only, a love that is extensive, but that lasts over time, all time, but also a love that is intensive. We long to be loved radically, deeply, excessively, passionately. I tell you, My Beloved is mine and I am His! Oh may God give us the power to comprehend what is the height and depth and length and breadth, and to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge that we might be filled with all the fullness of Him.

If you would allow me to make this very personal, love being the high point of everything, the fulfilling of the whole law and the number one ingredient in life {Romans chapter 13}.  I want you to know that God knew every flaw and weakness I would have and every mistake I would make when He called me into relationship with Himself. Nothing about me surprises Him. God knows and has always known everything about me. He knows what I will think, do and say every day for the rest of my life. He also knows how He will help me, teach me, correct me, encourage me, and give me grace for all my faults and failures. He is always for me and never against me, no matter what I do. God loves unconditionally, and that means He accepts us the way we are and then helps us to be all we can be. When you have someone who loves holding you, it doesn’t matter anymore what everyone else does or what the circumstances are or what the future holds. When you are in the arms of a loving God, when you have been consumed with His love, you share in His benefits. God’s love is beyond comprehension. Amazing, isn’t it? God knows us and still loves us. God knows that we are sinners, yet He forgives; we are diseased, yet He heals; we are in a pit, yet He pulls us out; we are ungrateful for His good gifts, yet He gives them anyway; and we deserve justice, yet He grants mercy. When God says I love you, He is saying that you matter to Him. You are a person of worth. You are valuable to Him. Regardless of what others think, in His eyes you are wonderful! God’s love touches every part of our life. Nothing – no calling or circumstance, no adversity or advancement, no pain or promotion, no status or station – escapes the brush strokes of God’s love. God’s love bleeds into every fabric and fiber of our lives. God has loved us with an everlasting love, and with loving-kindness He has drawn us. Indeed, we belong to Divine Love, and only God’s love is unfailing and always fully satisfying. In these last days, there has never been a time when we so desperately need to spend significant daily time contemplating the life of Jesus. “No greater love than this that a man would lay down his life for his friends” {John 15:13}. Oh, how He loves you and me! My Sweet Valentine! To the only wise God my Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen!

What It Do With the LUE: LUE Productions Indie Artists Showcase Showdown

LUE Productions Indie Artists Showcase Showdown this Sunday at the Office Saloon in San Bernardino located at 123 North E. Street is WHAT IT DO! So, this Sunday several artists will be going head to head for a chance to open for the legend, SUGA FREE. The winner will not only receive a free performance slot but other awesome prizes. The competition will be judged by qualified individuals and hosted by the TWEET TWEET MAN himself, IE’s own, TheRealDirty Birdy.

The night will be action packed with dope performances starring musician NOFACE THE SHADOWMEN and featuring LUE Productions artists: Mack Pepperboy, Paul Douglas, Dunamis L1019, Dada Doe, Lowla Scott, Speaker Junkie ENT, and B.C. Group. There will also be special performances by Yung Muusik, Faulty, Yawnie Mami, RETRO 80z, Jet Tanner, Ms Beauty, and Money Ant.

Going Head to Head we have the following artists: KJ Jankiies, SoCal Street Team, Franklin Barnes, GWAAP Fam, AP The Great, Cali Stone, Natural Born, ID Mack, Michaelangelo Willis Newell, Jay Iverson, BigSpooke The Foe, and Dc Offxtop Jme. The venue will be packed, so early arrival is suggested. DJ Muda will be on the 1z and 2z all night, and there will be exclusive red carpet interviews provided by Onmymama.TV, The Nut House, and Rigorouse TV. Come have some fun with LUE Productions! Remember L’s Up!

Doors open at 8 p.m. and yes there will be drink Specials. For more information, please text (909) 495.0848 or (909) 496.2151. The judges will be Adam Sutton, a Surprise Guest, and DJ Muda.