The sign in front of Pippen Beverage in the Glenville neighborhood is very clear: Pippen's is a black-owned store.
A few blocks away, the Sun Right Market has an even bigger sign that customers can't miss as they walk down the street. It says "New management black owned."
"The sign is up there because so many stores in this neighborhood are not black owned," said owner, Julius Wright. "And that's why it's up there and I want people to know."
John Pippen owns Pippens Beverage and tells Channel 3's Mike O'Mara that "Believe it or not, a lot of people see that black-owned sign and they weigh the pros and cons and they come in here."
A few yards away from Pippen's there is another convenience store, Eddie's Mini Mart. The owner, Akram ElKatib, is Arab American and has been working in the Glenville neighborhood for eight years.
He doesn't like the signs but believes that the motivation is competition and not racism.
"If I sell it cheaper, people are going to come to the cheaper prices, not to the Arabic or Asian or Spanish guy or Black guy," ElKatib said.
"It always is in the best position to have people who are people of that community have a stake in the community and provide those goods and services," Cleveland mayor Frank Jackson said.
Chico Zewalk has been a fixture at the sewing machine inside Mel's Cleaners for 38 years in the Glenville neighborhood. He and business partner Joaquin Gonsalves refuse to put up a black owned sign in front of their business.
Said Zewalk, leaning over his aging sewing machine: "No way! That's a no-no and I would never do that. People want service and good price, that's it."
"You know people are struggling right now," said neighbor, Jackie Oliver. "And they will go with the greatest value. That's what I do."
On Monday, the City of Cleveland will announce special small business incentives for residents in the Lee-Harvard and Mount Pleasant neighborhoods.
Qualifying owners can get incentive loans up to $25,000. Part of the special loan will be erased if the business survives for three years.