Flint businesswoman hopes spirit of Black Wall Street gives her business a bounce back

Flint’s Black Wall Street kicks off several weekend celebrations around Juneteenth in the city
Updated: Jun. 18, 2021 at 10:53 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - (06/18/2021) - Flint’s three-day Juneteenth celebrations are kicking off with Black Wall Street, featuring some of the community’s up-and-coming Black-owned businesses.

Flint’s Black Wall Street is giving small Black-owned vendors the opportunity to showcase their products for the community like scented candles from The Flintstone Candle Company.

“Like many people, I was at home, found myself at home kind of in a somber mood, and so I started lighting candles, and it brightened my mood, and so I wanted to bring that to the community as well,” owner Talia Dunn said.

Dunn was among other entrepreneurs looking to expand since many created their business while stuck at home during the pandemic.

Then, there’s Stephanye’s Flair: a business that had been around for sixteen years until COVID-19 came around.

“The pandemic hit. Then after that, my husband died, and so it’s like me and him always worked together, and so now what I’m trying to do it’s like a ship, like a Titanic. You’re trying to pull it back up out of the water,” owner Stephanye Wells said.

Wells says between the pandemic and her husband’s passing, she was unable to secure vital government support like unemployment or a small business loan. Now, she’s right back where she started sixteen years ago.

“I started out under a tent, and I worked my way from under a tent in a building. I never thought I’d have to go back under a tent again, but whatever it takes to come back again, whether it’s a tent or whether I’m on my feet, or whether I’m crawling, I’m coming back up again,” Wells said.

To get there, one business owner says it’s important to continue supporting the spirit of Black Wall Street.

Black-owned businesses that make up 9.5 percent of all U.S. businesses according to the Small Business Administration.

“The Black dollar in the community holds so much weight because you get to build what you what you want to build. You get to see what you want to see versus someone coming into the community and building what they want to,” Ahmaad Hood, the owner of Gentleman Grooming said.

As a result of that, he says there are advantages.

“You keep that money flowing through the community, and it’s steady building the community for generations to come,” Hood said.

Friday’s event was just the first kicking off several celebrations around Juneteenth in the city of Flint.

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