ST.LOUIS – Area entrepreneurs are trying to help put local black businesses in the black on Black Friday.
Thanks to Sarita Moody, Anni Jones and Jennifer Black, African-American businesses are lined up to garner their share of revenue generated from what has become known as the biggest shopping day of the year.
Now, in its fourth year, the Black-Owned Black Friday Pop-up Market is coming to Cherokee Street.
A curated marketplace is scheduled from noon until 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29, at The Luminary, an expansive incubator and platform for art, thought and action at 2701 Cherokee St.
More than 40 local black artists, creatives and makers and their work will be on display for everyone to shop and support.
The vendors’ offerings will also be available at businesses along the Cherokee Street strip. They include Teatopia, Foam, Hop Shop, Brandin Vaughn Collection, Mesa Home, Cherokee Street Art Gallery, Burger 809, Feeling Moody and Open Concept.
Moody, who owns Feeling Moody, said that the Cherokee Street location was intentional.
“This gives us an opportunity to partner with many of the black-owned businesses in the area,” said Moody, whose BOBF events partner, Jones, owns Mesa Home.
On the north side on the same day, Black is set to offer up the Black Friday Expo.
Doors open at 3 p.m. at the JC Supper Club, at 9053 Riverview Blvd. near Broadway Boulevard.
She is expecting about 20 to 25 vendors and is excited about connecting black businesses with shoppers.
“I’m trying to promote inter-community commerce,” said Black, who runs her own personal bar tending business.
“The expo will not only give awareness, but it will promote the need in our community for business wealth, so we can help ourselves and promote ourselves,” Black said.
Similarly, Moody said that through BOBF, she wanted to “encourage people to think about where they’re spending their dollars.”
Black said that if African-Americans knew where the black businesses were, they would support those businesses.
STL Black Biz, an online, local black-owned business directory, notes that some black consumers have no idea where black businesses are located and how to find them.
The site also lists “excuses” such as distance, high prices and a perceived lack of professionalism and bad customer service as deterrents.
Also, the site points to what the operator believes is a historical demonstration that some blacks will buy anything from whites (even if it’s the same quality) because it appears more credible or more legitimate if the other man is saying it or selling it.
“We have to stop going out of our own community to spend money if we know that we are the ones who suffering,” Black said.
Still, blacks have big pockets and purses for spending.
Last year, African-Americans registered an estimated $1.3 trillion in purchases, up from $961 billion in 2010 at the end of the economic downturn, according to a University of Georgia report, “Multicultural Economy 2018.”
Buying power among blacks has increased 114 percent since 2000, the report points out. It says the rise is a result of a surge in black-owned businesses, increased educational attainment and booming population growth. College graduation rates rose 17 percent between 2000 and 2017, and the black population since 2000 has been growing at 22.7 percent, higher than the national average of 16.3 percent.
When spending money, black consumers are loyal to brands and products that are authentic, culturally relevant, socially conscious and responsible, according to consumer market site Nielsen.com. In fact, the site says that 38 percent of African-Americans ages 18-34 say they expect the brands they buy to support social causes. Among blacks 35 and older, 41 percent say the same.
That’s good news for the African-American Black Friday events.
Moody said she and Jones created their event to showcase talented black designers, artists and creative curators who primarily make beautiful things by hand or offer sustainable clothing and small objects.
“There are a lot of pop-up shops that take place in St. Louis, but we wanted to create a unique shopping experience that celebrates this group of people,” Moody said.
Along with STL Black Biz (stlblackbiz.com), local black businesses are listed on fortheculturestl.com and the Black Pages, the internet’s largest African-American search engine and black business directory, which has been listing black businesses for 25 years.