Black business owners in the St. Louis area certainly felt the impact of the pandemic, but the region remains better off than most because it has nurtured more Black owned companies than other metropolitan areas.
According to a Brooking Institute study released in late 2020, St. Louis ranked second in the nation among “Metro Areas with the Highest Representation of Black Employer Business.”
The region had 3,112 Black business when the survey was completed, and the ratio of Black business to the Black population stood at 30.8%. The 3,112 Black owned business ranked ninth in the nation in total number of Black owned firms. That number is 6% of all the region’s business, which ranks second only to Atlanta.
St. Louis’ achievement will be on display during the Think Big Shop Small Delmar Black Business Expo from 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday August 27, 2022.
More than 90 businesses will be represented, and hundreds of products and services will be available to shoppers, all in celebration of Black Business Month.
The expo will take place both indoors and outdoors along Delmar Boulevard, beginning at AAA Fish House at 5816 Delmar.
In addition, Black Business Bus tours organized by Oh Buy The Way will transport visitors to other Black owned businesses located Downtown and in Dutchtown.
The Expo will present the “Starting and Sustaining Your Black Business” panel discussion at STL Artworks, 5959 Delmar Blvd at 1 p.m.
The session will feature leaders and mentors from the St. Louis business community, including Tiffaney Wesley, founder of Pure Vibes, an artisanal skincare business, Wesley was also a 2021 Forbes Next 1000 recipient, which recognizing emerging small businesses.
Wesley recently told VayageLA.com she created Pure Vibes in 2013 “out of personal necessity.”
“I was 23 and just beginning to master my adult life somewhat and needed to take control of my health,” she said.
“I was diagnosed with PCOS [polycystic ovarian syndrome] a hormonal condition that required that I adapt a dairy & gluten-free lifestyle. I began to search for gluten-free and vegan skincare and lifestyle products and at that time there were very few products in the market.”
She added that “the Pure Vibes journey was not an easy one for sure.”
“I went through several variations of the company trying to perfect my business model. There were also times in which My PCOS would get the best of me and not to mention the difficulty in trying to fund the business and not always having the means to do so.
“I eventually gained the courage to continue when I saw that the products were helping with my two years old eczema and hearing the feedback of other women suffering with PCOS.”
Maureen Brinkley, St. Louis Small Business Administration district director, is also a panel member. The event is organized by Delmar Main Street and presented by Mastercard.
Delmar Main Street provides educational and charitable resources to “promote, strengthen and revitalize a diverse commercial and housing corridor on Delmar Boulevard in the city of St. Louis, from Rosedale Avenue to Taylor Avenue, while preserving its historic character,” according to its website.
More info can be found on their website delmarmainstreetstl.com.