“I needed a taste of home,” says Keacean Phillips-Ransom. Originally from Jamaica, Keacean says she wanted to share what she loves about her culture. She started with a Jamaican food truck in 2014, but two years later found herself opening a sit-down restaurant on N. Killingsworth in Portland. “It was a scary process,” she recalls. “But Oregon has such a culture of food, and I’m proud to bring my Jamaican culture here with my restaurant, Jamaica Homestyle Cuisine.”
Her jerk chicken, oxtails, and sweet plantains have some rabid fans, But not surprisingly, the pandemic has taken a huge bite out of her business: down 60% since pre-Covid days. “I had to lay off two employees and close the dining area. I’m only offering take-out right now.” Keacean is looking forward to better weather in the spring when she can re-open her patio seating and participate in street fairs and festivals. She’s also optimistic about growing the catering side of her business.
Keacean recently learned that she has been selected as a Comcast RISE recipient which is providing her restaurant with a technology makeover and a year’s free business services from Comcast Business. “I was completely surprised when I got the phone call,” she says. “In addition to the tablets, which I’ll use for simplifying the process for customers to place their orders, the free internet and phone service removes a bill that I’d otherwise have to pay.” Comcast RISE was created to support minority- and women-owned small businesses which will deeply impacted by the pandemic.
“I’ve applied for so many grants to keep my business running,” she reports. “Being a minority, woman-owned small business is a disadvantage,” she says bluntly. “It’s unfair and definitely hurts. But I tell everyone I know about Comcast RISE. Ignore the fear or anger inside of you,” she urges. “Put your foot in and apply.”
To learn more about Comcast RISE and to apply, go to www.comcastrise.com.