Grand Rapids event to showcase Black-owned small businesses

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The holiday shopping season is about to officially kickoff with Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.

A special event Saturday afternoon in Grand Rapids will feature gifts and services available from Black-owned businesses.

Tiesha Hogue, an organizer and business owner, hopes shoppers consider supporting businesses that are sometimes overlooked by visiting the Small Business Saturday Black Vendor Showcase.

“In this community it’s really important that we’re intentional about sharing our networks and our dollars with the minority-owned businesses,” Hogue said.

The event will include Wrapped by A.C.T., a local Black-owned business. (courtesy Aleka C. Thrash)

Aleka C. Thrash’s business, Wrapped by A.C.T., sells a line of headwraps that were popular during the pandemic as more people worked from home. She is also an organizer for the event and is excited to have her products featured.

“As a woman of color, it is very hard to not only get funding, to get people to recognize you and just for people to see the talent out there,” Thrash said.

The event will also promote literacy through story time with Black Santa.

“We want kids to be able to experience a Santa Clause that looks like them that is joyful and is going to read to them,” Thrash said.

Thrash says going through a pandemic has been especially challenging for small businesses, like with the backlog in the supply chain.

“I actually had to put my business a little bit on a pause. I’m still selling, I’m still out there but the way it was originally set up, for me to be able to sell continuously I had to go to kind of a drop model which basically means once I have items available, I let people know, they buy,” Thrash said.

As the businesses try to return to some sense of normalcy, they hope events like this will help them grow moving forward.

“Last year there was a lot of hesitation amongst the public. This year knowing that more and more people are getting vaccinated and wearing our mask is really second nature now I am very hopeful that it’s going to have a bigger outcome than what we had last year,” Hogue said.

The event is Saturday from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Linc Gallery, located at 1167 Madison Ave. SE near Hall Street in Grand Rapids. Santa will be at the event from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

For more information, visit the showcase’s Facebook page.

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