Black-owned businesses face unique struggles


TORONTO — May 2020 was a stressful time for Vancouver thrift-store owner Portia Sam as she prepared to reopen from the first wave of pandemic related retail shutdowns. Thinking about the health risks of COVID-19 left her so anxious she sometimes found herself shaking.

Then, George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis. Sam's 20-year-old daughter was involved with the Black Lives Matter movement and Vancouver businesses talked of boarding up their windows after seeing the protests in the U.S. Sam had been ramping up Miscellany Finds’ social media activity during the lockdown period, but amid a surge of interest, now struggled to find the right words for her customers.

"I was enraged. For two months, I couldn't talk to people. I just did my work," says Sam of Floyd's killing and the protests.