Minority businesses showcase their work, promote unity in Youngstown

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Vendors say when the community supports one another, everyone wins

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Valley minority businesses came together to showcase their hard work to promote unity in Youngstown Saturday.

Vendors say when the community supports one another, everyone wins.

“A community cannot be a community without having unity. Whenever we have unity, that means we have to come together to support one another,” said Jessica Viera Morales, owner of Viera’s Vision Studios.

On Saturday afternoon, Morales, with the help of Dionne Dowdy, Executive Director of United Returning Citizens, hosted over 18 local minority businesses who set up shop for a “pop-up shop” at the Westside Bowl in Youngstown.

“We’re coming together. When you have one goal and come together and agree on that, that’s unity. That’s something we’re missing and trying to push forward and bring to our community in a time like this,” Dowdy said.

Dowdy says supporting small Black owned businesses not only helps the economy but more importantly brings the community together.

“We all supported each other. Everyone was happy and made a profit. Everyone learned that someone else was doing a business or a craft. It’s the communication, learning and education of what people are doing, what they have to sell and what they have to present,” Dowdy said.

“Coming together and supporting one another will make an impact on our businesses and growth in the community, so whenever something like this is taking place, you definitely want to come out and join and learn from one another,” Morales said.

Vendors say the day’s success was not only made of sales but also of camaraderie with their customers.

“There was a lot of support from other local businesses. Everybody supported one another, even the community coming in and added support, so I think it was a nice turnout,” said Tei’asha Simms, founder of My Melanin Speaks.

“I had a couple of sales. I was nervous. This is my first time doing a pop-up event, but it turned out well and I feel confident to do another one,” said Sirithia Williams, owner of Puddin Boutique 4 U.

As the push for unity continues, organizers say this “pop-up shop” would be the first of many in the Youngstown area.

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