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VP Kamala Harris dropped by local minority-owned businesses during visit to the Tri-State

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Posted at 11:26 PM, Apr 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-01 00:04:27-04

CINCINNATI — Vice President Kamala Harris was in town Friday to talk transit and briefly created a small traffic jam of her own on Elm Street downtown when her visit took two local small businesses completely by surprise.

Trips to BlaCk Coffee and the neighboring Black Owned clothing stores left a lasting impression on those employees who got to meet the VP.

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“I’m like, ‘Man, who’s this standing in front of the door?’ He said, ‘Oh, the vice president’s in town,’” Black Owned store manager James Berry told WCPO. “I didn’t think anything of it.”

He was soon stopped in his tracks when Harris walked into the store.

“Next thing you know cars just start storming here. It was crowds and camera men and things like that,” Berry said.

The VP grabbed a cup of coffee from BlaCk Coffee and then one of Black Owned’s signature shirts as Berry, unable to take pictures or video because of security, stood feet away.

“I was just surprised because you wouldn’t think that the vice president would come here,” he said. “Out of everywhere you could go in Cincinnati, she chose us, so I was grateful.”

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Berry said he was grateful to meet Americas first African-American and female vice president and he’s hopeful her visit will shine even more light on this growing business.

“It means a lot to us,” he said. “It really means a lot, being the small business like we are and expanding like we are. We’ve come a long way. It’s very exciting.”

The store’s owner was in Cleveland at the NFL Draft Friday, where he announced the Bengals selection of Jackson Carman, so he missed the vice president. Berry said he made sure to call his boss and fill him in on all the big news.

Harris visited Cincinnati Friday to participate in a roundtable discussion on transportation, infrastructure and families, during which she briefly created a small traffic jam of her own

“It shouldn’t require that you have the financial ability to own a car, pay insurance, pay for new tires, to be able to go to work,” Harris said during the roundtable Friday.