Recent national data shows Black businesses were more likely than businesses overall to close during the pandemic. Organizers of multiple
local pop-up marketplaces are finding one way to support Black-owned businesses moving forward.
Feven Gerezgiher reports:
Recent national data shows Black businesses were more likely than businesses overall to close during the pandemic. According to the New York Federal Reserve Bank, Black businesses were already at a disadvantage due to their lack of access to capital or federal relief funds.
Organizers of multiple local pop-up marketplaces are finding one way to support Black-owned businesses moving forward.
Seanie Sheppheard runs a directory of black-owned businesses called the MN Black List, and co-leads a monthly marketplace called The Black Market in Minneapolis. Sheppheard says after George Floyd’s death last year, there was a wave of support to “Buy Black.” But many people didn’t know where to look to find Black-owned businesses.
“Our mission at the Black Market is to increase the visibility of black owned businesses, so that people know about them, that they have a platform to learn and to meet the different business owners and different service providers,” says Sheppheard.
She says the marketplace also serves as a supportive space for over 70 vendors.
“We curate our events and our markets in a way where you can feel our culture. You also have good food cooking, you’re going to hear the music, you know, you’re going to feel the vibe of black community while you’re there.”
Laura Preston – who is white – co-organizes the Black Business is Beautiful market in Saint Paul. She says creating the marketplace was a way to support BIPOC business, but also a way to bridge communities.
“Our biggest goal for this market is to use our network and our platform and our privilege to bring in white shoppers to spend their dollars and have an amazing experience with Black entrepreneurs and business owners,” said Preston. “So that they can literally look their bias in the eye, have a great experience, and walk away feeling like ‘okay, they’re people. We’re all just people’.”
The next Black Business is Beautiful market is this Saturday from 11 to 4.
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