Richmond, CA–When Jabari Muhhamad’s mother called him one day saying that she was going to close Snapper’s Seafood due to her health, he knew that he could not let that happen. Jabari did not want to see everything his family had worked for disappear overnight.
His mother had supported him throughout the years and now, Jabari knew that it was time to support her. He also knew that if he did not step in to save the family business, future generational wealth would be lost. It was important to Jabari that people in Richmond, California see positive, Black-male influences heading the family business–especially local youth in the community.
“In 1980, Black people were booming across America from my research. In 1985, when crack-cocaine came into existence, we began spiraling downhill losing our properties. We got involved in the drugs and we didn’t care about our communities. We owned the gas stations, mom and pop stores–if we didn’t own the place, we ran the business.” said Muhhamad.
Jabari has now picked up the torch, continuing to sustain Snapper’s Seafood so that future generations not only have a means of income but a family legacy to be proud of. He handles the everyday operations which includes taking orders and making sure business runs smoothly.
“It is important to pass the baton but a lot of times the family gets disgruntled–just give me my cut. Three years from now they’ll be broke, even six months from now,” Jabari illustrated.
Five years after that phone call from his mother, Jabari has managed to keep the business his mother established afloat through his dedication and steadfast businesses practices. Thanks to community support, as well as integrating food delivery services such as Uber Eats and Grubhub, Snapper’s Seafood has also survive during a global pandemic.
The emergence of the coronavirus has led to the closure of many small businesses in the Black community that crumbled under such an abrupt economic shift.
When asked what drives him daily to handle the operations of Snapper’s Seafood, Jabari says he thinks back to his time in a prison cell. His freedom allows him the liberty to work for himself. While in jail, Jabari was forced to listen to the prison guards tell him when to sleep, when to eat and when to provide prison labor for pennies on the dollar.
“Telling another grown man how to run his life will actually make you want to do something right,” Jabari expressed. “At least for me, it’s not for everybody but I’m not about to go back to that cage with all them politics, problems and ups and downs with C.O’s.”
For the past six months Jabari has been traveling back and forth to Sacramento, checking the status of Snapper Seafood’s new food truck. His new investment of a food truck will expand the brand of Snapper’s Seafood, allowing Jabari to cater large events as well as street vending.
As the food truck gets renovated with refrigeration, ventilation systems as well as state of the art frying appliances, Jabari has been looking for a dedicated and solid team to help run the truck–an obstacle that is all too common for business owners.
“Our people, we love them–but a lot of us have undisciplined habits. You have to be disciplined to not do certain things when you are running a business. You have to be stern, you got to be stiff. You are not going to get a lot of friends doing that but it is the culture that we have to break.”
Jabari is looking to employ four people in Snapper Seafood’s new food truck. He is open to hiring everyone but said that his focus is employing people from his community first. Every other group in America, even those who willingly migrate from other countries have one advantage over Black’s in America–which is their ability to employ one another within their own businesses and their willingness to practice group economics.
“The only way to fix the problems in the Black or Latino community is you have to have finances. You have to have jobs for people to even chip the surface. That’s just chipping the surface. You have education, you have mental health, you have discipline–all types of issues,” said Jabari. “To attack anything you have to have finances. To have finances you have to create your own jobs.”
Support Snapper’s Seafood: 1501 Ohio Ave Richmond, CA 98404
Visit them on social media @snapperseafood