BY TRONE DOWD
Rosedale’s Pa-Nash Eurosoul Restaurant and Lounge has taken on a new initiative in Southeast Queens, one that will likely educate those in the community to think more consciously about their spending habits and where their money is really going.
Starting this month, Pa-Nash will be hosting Economic Empowerment events at the restaurant, hosted by community leaders and trailblazers in the field of successful local businesses. Tuesday’s event, titled “Business 2 Business: Empowering Women in Business,” will speak on how to keep Southeast Queens thriving through patronage and support of both local businesses in the neighborhoods and black businesses in the borough.
Pauline Noel, of Debra Designs, and designer of Pa-Nash’s distinct upscale appearance spoke to the Queens Tribune on the role Pa-Nash hopes to play in this portion of the borough going forward.
“The lounge has various types of entertainment that is unique to the community,” Noel said. “There are a lot of different cultures. We have comedy; we have distinct dishes, painting and all sort of interesting things that aren’t clubs.”
She said that using the space for something productive is a natural evolution of what the restaurant has been wanting to continue. Considering the uniqueness of Pa-Nash’s spacious venue, consisting of a dining area, an art gallery and lounge used for live performances, she believes that it would only make sense to invite local organizations to come and use the space for events beneficial to the community, all while keeping these businesses closely knit.
“We want them to have a venue that they can utilize, to meet and to hold events,” Noel said. “We want to be a destination, a hub, where you can not only be entertained and dine, but also now, reach businesses, getting the businesses to know each other, what they do and how they can work together, because if we don’t know who’s in the neighborhood and what they’re doing, then we can’t work with each other for economic empowerment.”
The first of these events is going to be held by Pa-Nash itself as they host what will be the first in a series of the Business 2 Business seminars.
The idea for the monthly initiative came from restaurant owner Annette Runcie who was influenced by black author and activist Maggie Anderson.
Anderson, who studied law at the Chicago Law School under President Barack Obama first made waves in 2009 when she decided to spend a full year contributing her money exclusively to black owned businesses.
She chronicled what she called her “Black Year” in her 2012 book, “My Black Year: One Family’s Quest to Buy Black in America’s Racially Divided Economy.” In her books, she talks about how hard it is to keep the dollar invested and circulated within the black community for a substantial period of time. In fact, according to her book, the dollar stays in the black community for six hours. By comparison, a dollar circulates in the Asian community for 28 days. In order to keep her promise, Anderson often times had to travel extensive lengths to find black businesses.
“When Annette saw [Anderson’s] video of one of her speeches that went viral, she started sharing it with everyone,” Noel said. She then started organizing the event and managed to get in touch with community leaders. It wasn’t long before she managed to get Kevin Livingston of 100 Suits for 100 Men and Sen. James Sanders (D-Far Rockaway) on board to help reach out to community business leaders in Southeast Queens.
For the inaugural event, Community Board 12 Chairperson Adrienne Adams, New York 1 Anchor Cheryl Wills and Empowerment Coach Terryl Ebony are all speaking on the topic of women in business. The event will be hosted by Livingston.
“It’s all tied into the event,” Noel said. “Of course with March being women’s history month, we’re highlighting and focusing on women who are empowering our communities.”
The first Business 2 Business event is will take March 29 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Reach Trone Dowd at (718) 357-7400 x123, email@example.com or @theloniusly.