Publisher of Minority & Black Directories in Colorado Springs & Local Historian
A life dedicated to God, family, and community; the first thing you’ll notice when you meet Carrie L. Barnhill is the look of modest contentment and compassion in her eyes.
Born in Bernice, Louisiana, Barnhill began her civil service when she joined the Air Force as a stenographer. After 22 years of service, she retired from the military as a Master Sergeant and earned numerous awards, including the Meritorious Service Award, Outstanding Unit Award, and the National Defense Award.
As is common for those who serve in the military, Barnhill was stationed in the Springs in 1967. Enamored by its western charm and beauty, Barnhill moved back permanently in 1980. She worked for Young’s Janitorial Service until 1996. Then she attended Robinson Business College and Pike’s Peak Community College to become a social worker.
Upon realizing there was a lack of representation for minority-owned Small Businesses, Barnhill’s Enterprises Inc. published its first El Paso County Minority Business and professional Directory in 1987, followed by the Afro-Americana Directory in 1994. in 1999 Barnhill founded her flagship enterprise, Barnhill’s Janitorial Service
Barnhill was a member of the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce, The Pike’s Peak Black Chamber of commerce, The Urban League of the Pikes Peak Region, the Small Business Advisory Council, NAACP, The Black Chamber of Commerce, El Paso County Republicans, The Disabled American Veterans the Retired Enlisted Association, Women in the Air Force ,Alpha Theta Kappa, and was the Mother of the Progress Church of God and Christ.
The Black Directory
Barnhill’s Enterprises was conceived in 1986. Its only goal was to publish a directory about minority business and professional entrepreneurs in order to fill a void in local information sourced. In 1994 Barnhill’s Enterprises saw a need to publish an Afro-Americana Directory to complete a long–term objective and goal of helping to keep Colorado Springs, Colorado as well as others informed if the great accomplishments minorities were making in this great city.
The void existed because major directories do not distinguish between Afro-Americans and other businesses; The cost of advertising in directories was far beyond the financial means of many members of minority group; None of the directories specifically list churches, organizations, and social groups in such a manner that military members of minority groups and non-military people “new” to the area will be able to find groups to join; There are no centralized areas where members of specific minority groups live or have their businesses;’ Other directories do not provide an immediate guide to minority business for use of city, county, state, or federal government agencies. These agencies were required to make attempts to assure that minority businesses were aware of and encouraged to submit bids. This directory helped to bridge the gap
There was no charge for minority businesses to be listed in the directory, however if you wanted a copy you would have to pay for it.
Sales for the of the directory at its reasonable price did not generate sufficient income to cover the expenses; therefor , additional income was raised through support of sponsors, advertising, government, corporations and other donations.
In addition to being a good information resource, the directory was also a record of history of the various types of businesses, churches, social and civic organizations.