First annual Southwest Florida Black Expo held at Edison Mall
The Dunbar Festival Committee held their First Annual Southwest Florida Black Expo Friday through Sunday, which allowed businesses a chance to show the community what they had to offer.
One hundred businesses and nonprofits were on display inside Edison Mall.
“Small black-owned businesses are only a small percentage of businesses in the country so once given an opportunity, take advantage of it and know we can provide high-end quality customer service,” said festival vendor Alfonso Bailey Jr. of Bailey Custom Shirts.
While enjoying live music, dancing & financial literacy workshops, people were able to shop with vendors who were set up throughout the mall.
Even from young entrepreneurs like 8-year-old Mariah Lee, owner of The Riah Collection.
“It’s fun having a business when you’re only 8 and you get your mom to help you and it’s exciting to give your stuff to many people,” said Lee.
Other vendors enjoyed the expo and said they’re important to have because it inspires today’s youth.
“I think it’s very important to give black-owned businesses exposure especially in the community to show the youth that you can have your own business as well and it can be as successful as other businesses,” said vendor Tiarra McCray, owner of Royal Complexion Noire.
Event organizers said their goal is to hold another expo like this during the same time next year.
“I am so excited and it’s just heartwarming when I walk through the mall and have the vendors and even business owners say thank you,” said DeMar Shawn Diggs, Special Events Coordinator, Dunbar Festival Committee.
“The main goal is keeping them all alive because this is where our business resides,” Diggs said.
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