PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — For the past year, organizers with Discover Peoria say they been working to showcase and include black-owned tourism and hospitality businesses in the city.
On Monday, the visitors’ bureau celebrated 21 black-owned businesses. The group’s community engagement Coordinator Daurice Boneta believes supporting black-owned businesses goes beyond word of mouth.
“Well, when it comes to business, you know if you are doing a lot of talking and there are no dollars, any business is not going to thrive for long,” she said.
Rumberger’s, Popcorn Heaven and Unique Tees are just some of the businesses being recognized. Boneta said networking with these businesses creates more exposure for people outside of the Peoria area.
“Just knowing that the black community has those things to offer is exciting. We are in a time where we need to keep the playing field leveled for everyone,” she said.
Shundra Parker has owned Unique Tees for more than a year. What started as a hobby is now a printing shop that specializes in customizing items.
The Peoria native’s shop is the only black female-owned print shop in the state that is part of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Union. It’s a partnership that could allow Parker to make items for political parties.
Now, she is encouraging other minorities to turn their dreams into a reality.
“Do it. Go out there and do it. You may fail, but of course, that is all part of the succeeding. So go out there and do it. Bring your dreams to life. Bring your goals out there, taking one step at a time and get there,” Parker said.
Nineteen of the 21 businesses are brick and mortar while two operate online. Boneta says she is working to expand the list so all black businesses can get the opportunity to grow.
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