This letter is from Ervin Clarke, the Founder of the Central Virginia African American Chamber of Commerce, and a worshipper of Jesus Christ. To the more than 200 Black Churches in the Richmond-Petersburg Virginia area, I offer greetings and praise for the work that you are doing. Your faithfulness in service to your congregation is a blessing to all.
I am writing to highlight an area where you can make a difference in the lives of our community. Collectively, our churches can be an economic engine that can lift our people through focused efforts to target the Black community with dollars that are already being spent.
The first target that I propose we undertake is church supplies. Every Black church purchases bibles, communion elements, study material, and other supplies needed for weekly operations. There is one Black spiritual store in the Richmond-Petersburg area, Barky’s Spiritual Stores. Black churches should make Barky’s Spiritual Stores the main vendor to fulfill the need for church spiritual supplies.
The benefit to our community will be almost instant; Barky’s will have to hire additional help to fulfill the deliveries. Personnel will be needed for not only delivery, but also inventory management and administrative work, and the individuals who’ll fill these and other positions are sitting right in your congregations. Remember: the dollars that you’re spending are fulfilling the dreams of some community, somewhere. Why not do it for your community?
I was driven to write this letter because the African American Chamber’s mission is to help foster economic growth in the African American community via Black businesses. The benefits of answering this call is self-evident.
The reluctance that we as a people have to work together economically has deep roots, but it’s through faith that I believe you will abandon what’s always been done and blaze a new path.
Barky’s Spiritual Stores has been in business for over 64 years. They are a member of the Central Virginia African American Chamber of Commerce, and have a commitment to serving the Black community. I implore you to give them the opportunity to handle a portion of your church’s spiritual supply needs. Give them a call, send them an email, and be patient with them as they grow to handle the influx of new business.
Then, stand proudly and take a bow when the Barky’s story, as a growing retail enterprise in the heart of the Black community, is credited as a coming together of Black Churches in the Richmond-Petersburg area.
Yours in Christ,
Ervin B. Clarke,
Founder and Chairman