After battling through the COVID-19 pandemic, two Black entrepreneurs who own a restaurant in suburban Atlanta are $10,000 richer.
Waleed and Quiana Shamsid-Deen, co-owners of Supreme Burger in Decatur, Georgia, captured the cash along with other awards after they were named the “Giving Back” grand prize winner in the 2021 Mastercard and Bank of America’s Small Business Impact Awards.
In late October, Mastercard and Bank of America hosted a virtual ceremony honoring U.S. businesses, like Supreme Burger, for their impact on customers and communities. Giving Back, Diversity & Inclusion, Innovation, and Sustainability were among the winner categories.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Supreme Burger took the shutdown as an opportunity to give back. The gourmet quick-service restaurant provided over 15,000 meals weekly to youth and seniors in their community, per Patch.Com.
Along with the cash, they were presented with other prizes, including one year of Platinum Honors tier member benefits in Bank of America Preferred Rewards for Business, resources from Mastercard, along with access to a small business specialist for one year.
“I’m still grinning from ear-to-ear,” Quiana said. “It’s surreal to know our struggle of dealing with this pandemic and being in the space of just trying to survive, but at the same time, being recognized for the work that we are doing in the community.”
Waleed added, “Being recognized nationally is what makes this even more “amazing.”
He explained that winning would assist with payroll and marketing “Helping with payroll is a big deal in a pandemic when there’s a shortage of labor and a shortage of workers. We also really want to let the community know that we’re still here. We’re still active.”
At the start of the pandemic, he said they lost 50% of their sales due to closing for two months.
Despite COVID, the pair are still growing the business. They opened a second location in Mexico, and they’ve created franchising opportunities, opening a location in Charleston, South Carolina, last week, Waleed said.
Winning the Mastercard and Bank of America’s Small Business Impact Awards will help greatly, but Quiana said there are too many Black-owned businesses that don’t have the support of big banks.
“We are completely grateful for that additional income to help us continue to survive, but it’s having enough capital to not just survive, we want to also thrive, and that has been an issue within the Black community when it comes to Black businesses not having enough,” she said.