Andrea Harris, president of the N.C. Institute for Minority Economic Development, credits Art Pope (President and Chairman of the Pope Foundation) and Variety Wholesalers Inc. with saving jobs in low-income, rural areas of North Carolina.
Harris is quoted in this news story from The Triangle Tribune, an African-American newspaper (emphasis added):
Born in Henderson, N.C., Harris witnessed the closing of Roses Store headquarters. Out of a city that holds about 45,000 people, nearly 6,000 lost their jobs in almost six years.
Variety Wholesalers, Inc., where Pope is CEO, saved jobs for the residents. Many of the stores are in minority census track and low-income towns.
“We need commercial investments in our neighborhoods that don’t sell alcohol and drug paraphernalia. Variety Wholesalers does not sell tobacco, alcohol or guns. Over half the employees are women. Over a third of the managers look like me,” Harris said. “When it comes to Art Pope, I see a different person than what most people see.”