Black Business Market in East Winston continues to grow

Ellen Forbes (left) and Michelle Young are two of the individuals who were instrumental in starting the Black Business Market in East Winston.

Black Business Market in East Winston continues to grow
July 21
13:31 2020

Over the past few months, there has been a big push for Black people to patronize more Black-owned businesses.  The movement has grown nationally through social media and word of mouth. Not to be left out, a group of business owners from Winston-Salem decided to jump on the bandwagon and organize their own Black Business Market in East Winston.

Karen Bonner, Ellen Forbes, Michelle Young and other business owners banded together to start a market for customers to buy from local Black business owners. The market is located in the field at 2419 NE Clairemont Ave. and is open from 9 a.m. through 2 p.m. each Saturday.

The group has not settled on a set schedule as of yet, but hopes to nail down a monthly schedule that works for their vendors. They have vendors that sell items such as food, clothing, jewelry, fresh produce, oils and soaps. They also have a booth set up for individuals to register to vote.

“I am in a group called Business Sisters Building and when all this happened with our brother getting shot and economics were down because of the pandemic, I made a suggestion in the group that we should do something about this,” Forbes said about how the idea for the market was started. “The rapper T.I. said he wanted to do a blackout of July 7 and I said ‘That is six weeks away, we need to do something now,’ so the group decided to put together a Black Business Market.

“We started out on Brownsboro Road at my flower shop, but it became too big. The first week we had maybe 25 vendors, the second week we had 36, and last week we had 47. We definitely are going to have to move again, which is great and amazing.”

Forbes and Young said the market has grown by leaps and bounds since the beginning and would like to have a large indoor space to work out of so they can hold the market if there is inclement weather.

“We are honored to do it on this property, but if we can find someone that can house us later on during the colder months, would be great,” said Young. “That way we can keep it going all year long. We are going to need more space, because the people are coming out. I am not sure how many people we had, but it was packed. We just encourage the people to come out, enjoy the vendors, and we will let everyone know when we will do it again.”

Young said she is happy to be a part of something that is highlighting Black businesses.  

“A lot of these vendors I had no idea about and I have been in Winston-Salem most of my life,” Young continued. 

Forbes wanted to emphasize that the market is not about only buying from Black-owned businesses, but instead it is an effort to “boost” Black-owned businesses.  

“We had many different cultures come out last week,” said Forbes. “They heard about it and they said they just wanted to support. That is one thing I want people to understand, it’s not just about Black business, we are doing a boost for Black businesses right now.”

“We just want them to know the opportunity is there, because we have some people that just want to support Black businesses,” Young added.

Young and Forbes also said the market is a great place for new businesses and young entrepreneurs to come and help get their enterprises off the ground.  

The feedback from the vendors and customers has all been positive, according to Young and Forbes.

“It is awesome, and it feels even better that we are giving back to our community,” said Young. “It’s local and people can walk here and come and support.”

Brian Young of Honey Bee’s Barbeque was one of the vendors. He is based out of Durham, but says he travels all over the area delivering food, because he is a mobile pit master. Young is a Winston native and has been participating in the market for two weeks.

“I like to see us come together like this and showcase our talents from beginning entrepreneurs or others who are slightly seasoned in this,” said Young. “I just wanted to help bring people out and make them aware of this.”

Young said he enjoys coming to the market and has sold out every time he has come. He says the response from the customers makes it all worthwhile.

Tasha Coleman and her daughter Destiny have been vending at the market since its inception. Coleman sells Paparazzi jewelry and thinks the idea of the market was a necessity for the community.

“I wanted to support the vibe that is going on and to support the community,” she said. “We have had an excellent response and it is a great networking opportunity. It has been a major growth here and every week it gets bigger and better. I would love for it to continue to grow, so people can network and grow their businesses.”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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