December 8th, The Community Voice, along with our partners Koch Industries, helped conclude our year-long initiative to honor successful Black businesses in Wichita, with an awards dinner for the program’s selected honorees, their family and staff.  

The Voice kicked off the program last January with acknowledgement that the pandemic had been taught on businesses, particularly African-American owned businesses. Still, there were successes. 

More than a pandemic catch phrase, businesses who succeeded found ways to shift and pivot for short-term survival and in response to long-term trends intensified by the pandemic. Those who were most successful at this trend are businesses that found themselves thriving as the economy began to rebound.  

The partnership between The Community Voice and Koch Industries identified and recognized four businesses that shifted, pivoted and were thriving (or at least better positioned) following the pandemic.  

Congratulations to all the award recipients:

L’Oreal Benitez, Benitez Counseling, LLC, www.benitezcounseling.com

Marquetta Atkins, Destination Innovation, www.destinationinnovation.org

Woody, Candace and Jerome Cottner, Global Aviation Technologies, https://gatict.com, and 

Deborah Gladney and Angela Muhwezi-Hall, QuikHire, worktorch.io

Each quarter, the initiative focused on a different Black-owned business through a featured story in The Community Voice print and online editions, in marketing campaigns through Community Voice and Koch online channels and through production of a specially produced video that was shared on Community Voice and Koch channels and was available for each of the honorees to use.  

The project’s goal was to not only highlight the success of these four companies, but by sharing their stories, to inspire and inform other Black businesses that sometimes changing directions might be the path to success.  

The “Shift, Pivot, Thrive” initiative served as an anchor to The Community Voice’s growing business coverage, designed to strengthen the economic viability of the Black communities the paper serves. 

Koch’s partnership in the initiative is part of the company’s ongoing commitment to becoming a preferred partner among diverse communities in Wichita, where the company is based. 

Atlanta-based Matlock Advertising and Public Relations, a Koch Industries partner, helped lead and coordinate the year-long program.  

Thank you Wichita Councilmember Brandon Robinson; Kenya Cox, national board member NAACP; Kevin Andrews, Agape Group Inc.; and David and Lynn Gilkey, Rise Up for Youth, for attending, presenting and shining a light on our honorees.

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Bonita Gooch

Since 1996, Bonita has served as as Editor-in-Chief of The Community Voice newspaper. As the owner, she has guided the Wichita-based publication’s growth in reach across the state of Kansas and into...