Black business owners and vendors came together Saturday at Magnolia Park in Greenwood to take part in the Black Market Commerce Event sponsored by the Greenwood Garveyites.
“This is all about community and appreciating your culture,” said Leslie Temple, who was chatting at Esi Krumpua’s booth.
Krumpua sells African wares, and she said she thinks spotlighting Black-owned businesses is a great idea.
“We’re out here today to support our small businesses,” she said. “We need to have this all the time, on a regular basis. Maybe like every two months because there are a lot of businesses out here in the Greenwood community, and we don’t know anything about them.”
More than 25 vendors took part in the first event of its kind. The Greenwood Garveyites, a nonprofit organization whose goal is to unify Black Americans in communities across the country, organized the event.
Ahmad Hart, president of the Greenwood Garveyites, said it takes fun to inspire such a gathering, which also featured music.
“We are just recycling the Black dollars and just bringing it back to use in the community so we can own a piece of the land,” Hart said.
Hart said he and others promoted the event through social media and word of mouth.
“We’ve got a good reputation of helping the community,” he said. “This event helps get the smaller (businesses’) names out.”
Terrence Gilchrist, of the Garveyites, said an important thing about the event is that it gives businesses an opportunity to reach out to the public.
“Some people might not know about them,” he said. “It can help them get their business off the ground. It helps them get more exposure. A lot of people don’t have the financial means to get advertisement. Events like this help to get everybody together and learn about the different businesses.”
Nafi Shahid, also with the Garveyites, said his organization has been trying to unite the community socially, politically and economically.
“We just felt this was a good way to show people we need to come together and support each other financially. With the COVID going on, we are trying to show that we can help ourselves instead of asking for handouts.”
Another Garveyite, Charlene Calhoun, said that any time the group has a chance to give back to the Black community, it does.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for them to network with each other, as well as build on their clientele,” Calhoun said.