New food truck raising autism awareness highlights minority business ownership in Dayton

Tae Winston (left) and her son Chace show Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose the food truck Winston opened to raise awareness about autism, and provide jobs to autistic people like Chace. LaRose visited Dayton to talk about how the state can support minority-owned businesses.

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Tae Winston (left) and her son Chace show Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose the food truck Winston opened to raise awareness about autism, and provide jobs to autistic people like Chace. LaRose visited Dayton to talk about how the state can support minority-owned businesses.

Tae Winston is the kind of entrepreneur and minority business owner Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose says he wants to hear from and help.

LaRose stopped by Moraine recently to see Winston’s newest business, a food truck called Chace Concessions after her 12-year-old son, Chace, who is autistic.

The truck just opened this month and is meant to raise awareness and funds for autism while employing people with autism.

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“I just want people to know about autism, and I want to provide an opportunity for autistic kids to feel appreciated and give them hope,” Winston said.

LaRose stopped by the food truck on his way to a minority business roundtable at 1 Eleven Flavor House in downtown Dayton. The event was one of more than a dozen LaRose has held around the state at which he meets with minority business leaders to talk about how the state can support them.

“My job is to hear what they have to say, try to take those concerns back to state government and try to find ways to make Ohio more friendly for entrepreneurs like these,” LaRose said.

LaRose said such discussions have led to changes such as a bill going into effect in June to cut down on red tape for small businesses by requiring cities to honor the state’s certification of an entity as minority-, women- or veteran-owned.

The Ohio Secretary of State is responsible for processing and maintaining business filings in Ohio, as well as administering elections.

In addition to the food truck, Winston has several businesses that provide support and retail space for small, local vendors. They are the downtown learning center The Entrepreneurs Connection; a retail store on West Third Street called The Entrepreneurs Shoppe; and the pop-up shop The Entrepreneurs Marketplace.

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She said small and minority-owned businesses right now need startup capital. Many existing businesses still have debt or owe back-rent from losing revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic, she said.

But most of all they need support from the community, she said, as LaRose showed in his visit.

“That just gives us hope and lets us know we’re supported,” she said. “That’s sometimes worth more than money.”

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