Biannual marketplace provides platform for Black entrepreneurs

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Heading into Small Business Saturday, close to 30 black owned shops set up tables inside Montgomery Center, for “Black Power Marketplace”. An event that happens twice a year. The mission is to provide a regular platform for black entrepreneurs.

Nine-year-old Queen Nova, took us around her table. She makes bracelets and earrings.

“Everything I sell, I make by myself. On my bracelets there is golden texture, then I put beads on it,” Queen told News10NBC.

We also met Shenique Johnson, owner of SJ Nail Takeout. She creates press on nails. Each set designed by hand.

“I have a bunch of different ones, like teddy bears I even had chocolate themed nails.”

Johnson started her business during the peak of the pandemic. She had to get creative during COVID.  

“The nail salons were closed, and the press on business was something that was starting in the South, so I brought it here.”

Black Power Marketplace is put together by Community Justice Initiative (CJI), and the Nation of Islam. The goal of this initiative is to create more economic stability in Rochester.

“The Black owned businesses, we don’t stick together, so we need that and also understanding the importance of community and unity,” Cedric X  said, a member of Nation of Islam.

“The Black dollar stays in the community for six hours, we are one of the largest consumers and we put our money into the wrong places, to empower us, so we can sustain ourselves in this community,” CJI member, Niya Shabazz said.

That’s the message for the event, but business owners have a message of their own.

“Younger children or even teens, whatever your dream is, start it, don’t be afraid, it doesn’t matter who you are or what your race is,” Johnson added.

Queen says she wants to be a role model for other kids her age.

“I’m intelligent and I know how good I am and I love myself, and I love everyone else,” Queen said, with a big smile on her face.

This event will be happening Saturday too from 2pm to 6pm.