Photos courtesy of The Nashville Black Market / Facebook
Story by Taylor Blanch / Contributing Writer
On Saturday, The Nashville Black Market kicked off Black History Month by hosting an event in North Nashville. The annual affair, which is family friendly and free to the public, was created specifically to help local black business owners get exposure and expand their networks.
Sponsored by other black businesses, The Nashville Black Market is able to offer a wide variety of vendors at each of their events. Each of the 15 booths at the event brought something different to the table. From homemade candles to hand-crafted jewelry, and even a traveling wine tasting company, this event showcased minority talents in Nashville.
Latashia Thornton, a Detroit, Michigan, native who makes all natural soy candles and keepsakes, said she moved south in hopes of inflating her business only to realize that in order to do so, she may have to re-brand her company.
“This demographic is different than what I’m used to,” Thornton said. “Where I’m from is mostly urban. I’m used to shopping with black owners and entrepreneurs,” Thornton explained. “So being down here I wanted that same feel. Why not shop with people who look like you?”
According to the Nashville Business Journal, in 2017, the total revenue for minority-owned businesses in Nashville was over $290 million. Black businesses like Slim & Husky’s and The Cupcake Collection, which have gained notoriety all over the state, have been huge contributors to the image and reputations of minority-owned businesses as a whole.
Black buying power has reached over $1.5 trillion in recent years, according to a Nielsen report released in 2018. As a result, many African-Americans and minority groups are now seeing the value in keeping their dollar within their communities because of the recent social and political climates.
Memphis native and Nashville Black Market attendee James Miles said now more than ever is the time for the African-American community to come together.
“If we don’t come together better in this city, nothing will change for our community,” Miles said. “We have to start realizing there’s power in numbers, we can’t achieve what we want by competing and trying to step over each other.”
There are now nearly three million black-owned businesses in the U.S., mostly led by women, according to a 2017 report from Census.gov, and numbers keep rising each year. The Nashville Black Market hopes to contribute to the growth on a small scale by continuing to give these businesses a platform to grow. Because the event is such a success, a summer edition of the market is in the works for June 2019.
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