Black Sacramento entrepreneurs are calling on shoppers to ‘buy black’ this Black Friday
Ayisha Ransom-White knows how hard running a successful small business can be, especially for African American owners like herself.
So this Black Friday, she and a coalition of local black entrepreneurs are calling on shoppers to turn out for Shop Black Friday Sacramento, a two-day bazaar where more than 100 vendors — the majority of them black-owned businesses — will sell their products and services at the African Market Place on Florin Road. The slogan for the event is simple: “Buy Black. Build Black. Support Black.”
“We’re making money with our inventory sales, we’re passing out business cards, marketing our businesses,” Ransom-White said. “Reaching our target demographic — and at a more reasonable price.”
During the food and music-fueled event, patrons can shop for holiday gifts and toys, consult with dentists and and insurance companies, and mingle with local artisans and craft makers, said Berry Accius, one of the organizers behind the event and co-owner of Hidden Gems Thrift Store. More than 3,500 people attended last year’s event, he said, calling it a “kind of oasis” for black customers and business owners.
“We’re taking the opportunity to expose the good entrepreneurs here in Sacramento,” Accius said, “helping build black businesses that don’t usually have that kind of exposure.”
Dana Maeshia, owner of the book store All Things Literacy and another event organizer, said that Shop Black Friday Sacramento is a “celebration of our spending power.”
Black people spend $1.2 trillion a year, Maeshia said, referencing a Nielsen report from last year that concluded that “brands can’t afford to lose favor or traction with this segment without potential negative impact.”
“We’re trying to make sure we put businesses in a position where they can meet target demographics up close and personal and hopefully create those relationships on through the years,” Maeshia said.
Through events like Shop Black Friday Sacramento, Maeshia said she hopes local businesses will establish more workforce pipelines that train and hire young black students looking for mentorship and job opportunities.
Maeshia pointed out that while many Latino and Asian businesses have cropped up along Franklin Boulevard, Fruitridge Road and Stockton Boulevard, black-owned businesses are fewer and farther between in Sacramento.
“We’re just trying to make sure we can stimulate our own economy without asking for a handout,” Maeshia said. “It’s about planting that seed to make sure these businesses stay around.”
Ransom-White, who owns the Retail Pop-up Venue, a rentable retail space for local vendors, said she’s already seen firsthand what happens when black business owners lift each other up. Of the 19 businesses that held pop-ups at her business since it opened in January, four now have brick and mortar stores.
The deck is already stacked against non-white business owners hoping to build a thriving company, Ransom-White said.
Minority business owners are less likely to be approved for small business loans compared to white business owners — and the loans they do secure are also more likely to be for less money and at higher interest rates, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Government agencies and Fortune 100 companies also spend just a fraction of their total contract dollars with minority-owned businesses, according to the Greenlining Institute, and finding affordable storefront locations is an additional burden, Ransom-White said.
“We’re giving the underserved a platform,” Ransom-White said. “It’s hard for us to get loans from banks, we face so many issues. We’re just pumping up our businesses.”
Shop Black Friday Sacramento, held at 2251 Florin Road, will run from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 29, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 30 in honor of Small Business Saturday.
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Credit to: ALEXANDRA YOON-HENDRICKS @ Sacramento Bee Newspaper