2TheTable is an app designed to let consumers that care about social justice hold themselves accountable for building strong communities. It helps communities to achieve economic success and to drive local support for Black Owned Businesses, while providing information on the best places to eat, drink, and shop in the city.
It was well over five years ago that Phillip Dunn, CEO & Founder of 2TheTable LLC, first started ruminating on the idea that would become his company and passion project. A cumulation of experiences, both in the business world and in his personal life, led to his conviction that it is of vital importance to build tools that support Black Owned Businesses and expand the circulation of dollars within the Black American community.
We’ll let Phillip explain it from here:
“I’ve spent 20 years in corporate America, in large part as a Supply Chain Governance and Compliance Manager, so I’ve had an opportunity to see how very little corporate America spends with Black Owned Businesses. That’s the professional reason that led me to this; and then the personal reason was that I was constantly seeing requests for products or services from within the Black community.
I would see this in, say, a Facebook post, or in conversations with folks, and it could be from anyone – Black, White, anyone. So I said, ‘OK, then – let me put together a group to see if we can all assist one another in finding these businesses. And that will in turn assist corporate America, as well, in finding these businesses.”
“I started 2TheTable back in November 2015, and I started it on Facebook, oddly enough – as a social media focus group of just 30 people. It was simply a group of consumers, initially, that were looking to find more Black Owned Businesses, or more businesses within the community.
In the process of putting this group together, I did a little research. And what I found was that Black Owned businesses are vastly underrepresented in the business community in general, and that there are also many other statistics that are tied to business performance and business success.
The unemployment rate in the Black community is consistently twice as high as that of our brothers and sisters in other communities; the wealth gap is wide and ever-widening between our communities; the gap in home ownership rates is extremely wide…and all of this can be tied back to the success of the businesses within your community.”
“So I started putting all this data together, and I knew that the solution was: we’ve got to expand the circulation of dollars within the Black community. And we can’t afford to wait for legislation, and we can’t afford to wait for any type of executive action.
Well, the social media group grew from 30 people to 15,000 people. And we have plans to expand it by another 2,500 members. And what it does, is that each time we bring in new members, we all hold them accountable for buying Black at least 3 times a month – and you can almost quantify the capacity that’s generated from that. So that’s how we started. But there’s still so much ground to cover.”
How did 2TheTable expand from a focus group, to a community, to what it is today – and where did Beezer come in?
“From the Facebook group, I got the idea to create a directory, which is the website itself – 2TheTable.com. And in this directory, we started adding businesses, and the businesses started to grow.
But something interesting started to take place in the group: people wanted to start holding themselves accountable for supporting these businesses. And so from there, I created a tool that allows folks to log their transactions with these member businesses.
But I needed something to broaden our reach, and get outside of this social media page. And so I looked around for app development – and that was crazy expensive – and then, just doing a random search, Beezer comes up. And Beezer says, ‘you can build your own app.’ Well I thought, ‘no, there’s no way I can do that.’ But I spent some time playing around on Beezer’s website, and saw some other apps that were developed through the platform, and I said, ‘you know, maybe I could do this.’
So I played around on Beezer for a while until I developed my own app, 2TheTable. And that allowed me to reach more people outside of social media. So that’s how I came to be attached to Beezer, and I’ve been satisfied ever since.”
We asked Phillip to tell us more about the app and how it works.
“The primary feature of the app is the ability to log your transactions. So if you go out and you make a purchase of a product or a service from a Black Owned Business, you can log that transaction, write a review, and provide a rating of that business. You can record the transaction amount as well.
“And what this does is that you’re now demonstrating your commitment to building a community of businesses that are underrepresented, and in many cases underserved. And with this accountability feature built into an app, it becomes simple for people to go out and do. It doesn’t take long at all to do.”
“The other main feature is a directory. So you can go out and search for businesses that participate in our service. It is a business directory that stretches nationwide across the United States, and also Canada. So it provides businesses with the opportunity to have dedicated consumers that are willing to try their products and services.
Those are the two primary features. And then, you can also add a business to the directory, or request that a business be added.
Another really exciting thing I want to mention is that our users have logged close to $1.5M in transactions with Black Owned Businesses. And we intend to do more.
“To know that Beezer is providing a platform that can potentially change and transform a community – that is awesome. The fact that you all are in this space, and I stumbled upon Beezer at a time like this, is really crazy. And all the tools that I need to run this operation are there on Beezer. It’s affordable, it’s user-friendly, it’s easy to set up – it just has all the tools that you need in order to make your business run. And in this particular instance, not only are you making a business run, you’re facilitating the transformation of a community.”
“I think that it’s important to note that we didn’t get here over night. The condition in Black America, and for many Blacks around the globe, is not a situation that arose overnight. So it’s going to take us a while to get out of this current condition.
But I do believe that businesses like mine, and others out there that are working to focus on the right activities, will help us to get out of this current condition.
Definitely go out there, hold yourself accountable, and make the commitment to build in this community – because if we build this community, we build the entire community. We repair the entire community.
Imagine sitting at a table. If there is one leg of the table that is shorter, it’s going to wobble. That’s going to make the whole thing unstable and no one at that table will have a good experience. But if you lengthen that leg and get it to an equal length to all the other ones, then everyone can sit at that table together and enjoy their experience.
So, if you’re a like-minded consumer and you want to see these communities built and repaired, go out and experience 2TheTable.”
Check out 2TheTableLLC’s website and get involved – Black Owned Businesses can register themselves onto the directory, and consumers can log their transactions with Black Owned Businesses.