Tour emphasizes ‘buying black’

Patsy Squire admires a hat inside Body and Soul in downtown Winston-Salem last weekend during the Shop Small Bus Tour hosted by the Winston-Salem Black Chamber of Commerce.

Tour emphasizes ‘buying black’
December 01
09:30 2016

Photo by Tevin Stinson

Shoppers explore the minority-owned business scene in W-S



Last Saturday, the Winston-Salem Black Chamber of Commerce marked “Small Business Saturday,” the counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, by taking shoppers on a “Shop Small Bus Tour” of minority-owned businesses in the area.

American Express founded Small Business Saturday on the Saturday after Thanksgiving in 2010.

Every Saturday after Thanksgiving, the Black Chamber rents a bus, and invites shoppers to go on a guided tour of the businesses in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County that are owned and operated by men and women of color. This year, more than a dozen passengers boarded the bus to discover some of the city’s hidden gems.

Throughout the voyage, organization President Randon Pender highlighted more than 30 different minority-owned ventures.  As the bus traveled through the city, Pender served as the tour guide, calling out various locations where you can “buy black.”

Pender mentioned when the organization started host-ing the tours in 2013, the goal was to persuade local shoppers to take a chance, and shop small not only during the holiday season but year-round.

“We aren’t trying to tell anyone how to spend their money, but we want the people to know there are options,” she said.  “You don’t always have to go to the big name stores to find quality products. There are a number of small businesses in this area that many people don’t even know about, and we hope to change that.”

Along the way, the bus made a number of stops so those on the tour could shop and explore. One of the first stops on the tour was at the newly opened Village Town & Country Produce Store, which specializes in providing fresh fruits and vegetables at a price cheaper than most grocery stores.

While boarding the bus after buying a bag of fresh greens at the Ogburn Station store, Shelia Bailey applauded the Black Business Chamber for putting the event together.

“I think this is just wonderful,” she smiled. “I am really enjoying this.”

The tour also made stops at Zael’s Florist, Popcorn Fanatic, Body and Soul, Kingz Convenience Store, and Malone’s Restaurant for lunch. A number of business owners and entrepreneurs even took the time to personally thank shoppers for stopping by.

The owner of Kingz Convenience, Keith King, said he was grateful for the support from the Black Business Chamber and the busload of shoppers. King mentioned his store, located near the bus station downtown, has been in the same spot for a decade.

“I am really thankful for the Black Business Chamber and everything they do to support minority-owned businesses in the area,” said King. “It really means a lot to know that you have the support of the community.”

When measuring the success of the tours, Pender said a number of people have requested that tours be held throughout the year. She said they are now looking to hold a tour in the summer to accommodate those who are out of town during Thanksgiving each year.

Andrew Lindsay, Black Chamber member and owner of AKS Gifts & Promotional LLC, said the event has grown to become one of the organization’s biggest events. He said the event is so important because if we don’t support our minority-owned businesses, they will go away.

“The more businesses we have in our community, the stronger it will be,” continued Lindsey. “If we’re going to have strong communities, we have to support our businesses.

“For us to be successful, we have to support each other, family support-ing family,” he said.

For a complete list of minority-owned ventures highlighted during the Shop Small Bus Tour contact the Winston-Salem Black Chamber of Commerce website,

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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