This article appeared in the March 12, 2021 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 03/12 edition

He opened his shop just as pandemic struck. He hasn’t given up.

Charles Krupa/AP/File
A sign in the window informs passersby that Spokehouse Bikes in the Upham's Corner neighborhood of Boston is a Black-owned business on June 24, 2020. Many Black-owned businesses have struggled – but also survived – during the pandemic.
Linda Feldmann
Washington Bureau Chief

“Finding light in the darkness is a very American thing to do,” President Joe Biden told the nation last night as he marked a year of pandemic shutdown. 

For Wendell Allsbrook, a butcher in Washington’s tony Georgetown neighborhood, those first flickers were almost extinguished before they could really shine. 

Mr. Allsbrook had spent years learning the gourmet meat business, working for others, saving, studying, wooing investors, meeting purveyors. Finally, he opened his store – on March 9, 2020. Two days later, COVID-19 closed everything. 

But he didn’t give up. He regrouped, surviving early losses by selling via delivery and pickup.

“As one of the few Black-owned businesses on the west end of the city, Allsbrook was determined to stay open while demonstrators advocated for Black lives,” writes Petula Dvorak in The Washington Post.  

He also hopes to be a model for his teenage sons, and give back to his community, mentoring young people who grew up rough like him.

Georgetown Butcher’s prices are not for the faint of heart. Japanese wagyu A5 rib-eye (currently out of stock) sells for $200 a pound. The signature salmon is $23 a pound. A whole chicken is $26. 

With millions turning to food banks, the inequities are stark. President Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief plan will help: Economists project a one-third reduction in the number of Americans living in poverty.

But for Mr. Allsbrook, the “light in the darkness” came by identifying a market and then serving it. A second location opens soon.

This article appeared in the March 12, 2021 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 03/12 edition
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.