South Florida man finds solutions to support local businesses

A business owner in Liberty City who is mourning the loss of his younger brother continues to honor his brother’s memory. “Danny had a vision,” stated Phillip Agnew. “He continued without stopping until the very end.”

Last summer, there was a very bad car accident on I-95 in Miami. Sadly, a South Florida activist named Daniel Agnew died in the crash. Now, Phillip is taking the lead in finding solutions to support local businesses that have been displaced throughout Miami because of increasing rents. CBS News Miami reporter Joe Gorchow learned about a solution that can help small business owners avoid getting kicked out.

The Agnews always had a dream of owning commercial real estate instead of renting space to run their businesses in Liberty City. “We were forced to leave,” Agnew remembered, referring to the rented spaces for his businesses. “I believe this is a common experience for many people in Miami, where landlords are increasing rent to extremely high levels.”

“Danny Agnew told me that people are being forced to leave their homes because they can’t afford to live there,” said Brittany Morgan, who works at the Miami Foundation as the senior director of economic resilience. She was familiar with Daniel before he passed away and saw the Agnews’ mission.

“Morgan said that even though he is no longer alive, his legacy of ownership will continue to live on.” “Small businesses often contribute to their community and can help create long-lasting wealth for their families, especially for minority small business owners.”

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A possible solution has been found: allow minority-led small businesses to purchase real estate instead of renting in certain underserved communities in Miami. The Miami Foundation has teamed up with Wells Fargo to offer grants of up to $500,000 for the purchase price of a loan that can be forgiven. “Invest money in leaders who have been working in the communities for decades,” said Morgan.

Agnew said, “There will be a large picture window here where you can look inside and see many rows of books.”

Angew and his business partners were given money to purchase this building in Liberty City. Their bookstore is scheduled to open later this year.

Gorchow asked Agnew, “How proud are you knowing that this belongs to you?” Agnew said, “I don’t know what to say, I’m at a loss for words. We are very proud to know that this belongs to us, and it will be ours for a very long time.

A store that takes inspiration from Daniel’s dreams. “I believe that wherever he is, whether it’s heaven or just floating around somewhere, he’s currently telling me ‘I told you so’,” said Agnew.

The Miami Foundation wants to protect the cultural heritage in neighborhoods such as Liberty City, Allapattah, Overtown, and other local communities. The Collective Real Estate Ownership program, offered through the foundation, is currently accepting applications until April 15th.

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