PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – The month of August is National Black Business Month and local black businesses are showcasing what they have to offer.
The Minority Business Development Center hosted this year’s National Black Business Expo Saturday morning. The nonprofit has been celebrating National Black Business Month since 2016.
Forty-eight registered black businesses were spread out occupying Tyng and Jefferson street from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Denise Moore, founder and CEO of the center, said this is the first year the expo was held outdoors due to COVID-19 restrictions. She said they originally didn’t understand the large need for black businesses to get exposure.
“We are doing this to show the community and express to the south end that we have a lot happening on the southside of Peoria,” Moore said. “There’s a lot of black businesses in Peoria that we didn’t even know existed until they started registering for us.”
Vendors blended together networking while showcasing clothing, accessories, food, and other products and services. Moore said their sponsors allowed the vendors to come and set up at no charge.
She also said recent reports fueled them even more to host the expo and recognize the area’s black businesses.
“There was a report that came out and said 41% of black businesses will not survive after COVID,” Moore said. “And that was one of the primary reasons we decided to do this on the street to get as many black businesses exposed to the community as possible.”
Moore said it’s crucial for black businesses to get exposure and support if there’s any hope in them lasting during the current economic climate.
“Black businesses don’t receive the support and attention that they deserve and we need to make sure that we’re doing something about that,” Moore said. “I mean we’re already struggling. Before COVID, black businesses were struggling, imagine what’s happening now. So if we can give them a little boost, that’s what we’re here to do.”
Moore said in the future they’ll continue hosting the expo outdoors after seeing Saturday’s successful turnout. She said they plan to bring back Black Wall Street to the city’s south end.
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