The Power of One: Investing in Our Community

The Power of One is the Power of Possibilities – Melvin Van Peebles

The Power of One held its first media conference on December 3 at Hue-Man bookstore in Harlem. The event was hosted by Marva Allen, the owner of Hue-Man bookstore and leader of the Power of One program. It was a time for celebration and unity,  proving that Harlem residents are a family that will stand strong despite the current economic downfall. The Power of One is a program that encourages people to think about where their money is going, and making a commitment to spend a portion of it locally.  At the conference, small business owners in Harlem shared what the Power of One meant to them and how $1 can help neighborhood businesses and the community-at-large. Princess Jenkins, owner of The Brownstone, a Women’s contemporary boutique on 125th Street, explained one of the reasons for joining the Power of One  is “its tie back to supporting non-profit organizations that help youth in the community.” Everyone is being represented in this program.

Power of One donates 15% of its profit to charities such as The Melvin Van Peebles Foundation, Opus 118, and the Theater of the Oppressed and Cool Culture.

With more big chain stores (e.g., Target, Costco, Best Buy, etc.) moving into Harlem and surrounding communities, small businesses are finding it harder to compete. Harlem, as a community, can help itself by buying a Power of One card for only $1. With the card, customers receive discounts, VIP access, and other perks when spending money at local businesses. Over the last year, 40% of Harlem businesses have closed.

The businesses that are currently participating in the program include The Amsterdam News, The Apollo Theater, The Brownstone, Café One, Caranda Fine Foods, Carol’s Daughter Back Room, City Electric and Communications, Charisma Speakers, Experience-Harlem, Faison Fire House, Harlem Underground, Harlem Lanes, Harlem Vintage, H&M Art Gallery of Harlem, Hue-Man Bookstore, Imagenation, Katrina Parris Flowers, MoBay, Marcia Mayne Publicity, Nectar Wine Bar, One this Rock Jewelry NYC, Settepani Restaurant, Tonnie’s Minis, Smalls & Co., an independently owned Subway, and Two Fifth Lounge. Purchasers of the cards can go to any of the participating businesses to use the Power of One card.

Discounts include:

  • 10% off of purchases at Nectar, Hue-Man Bookstore, Katrina Florist, Mobay’s, and Cafe One.
  • A free makeover at The Brownstone with the purchase of Vera Moore’s cosmetics.

The Power of One’s goal for the next six months is to raise $1Million by selling one Power One card at a time. So far, the program has joined forces with Columbia University and Touro College, where new students will receive a Power of One card in their welcome packets.

Cards can by purchased at any of the business mentioned above and as well as the Power of One website