North Philly non-profit transforms office space to help Black-owned businesses

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A non-profit in North Philadelphia transformed its office space to help Black-owned businesses who don't have their own storefronts.

This Black Friday, 20 Black entrepreneurs from the community and for the community gathered to sell their goods.

"I think that putting the money back into the Black community allows the bigger corporations to see that Black lives matter and no lives are going to matter until Black lives matter," said Tanja Irby, owner of Waisted by Icasper.

Rickey Duncan says he organized the event, stressing why he opened up his nonprofit to be used as a retail space Friday to support Black-owned businesses.

"In order to rebuild the community, you need to refinance. So instead of taking the money outside the community, keep it in the community," said Duncan, the executive director of Nomo Foundation and co-CEO of Pure Palace LLC.

Empowering Afrocentric photos, like one of Kamala Harris, were sold at one of the tables.

"She's the first Black female to become vice president and that's really significant for people of color," said George Trusty, a freelancer who frames and sells Afrocentric pictures. "It's very important for young girls to see a Black woman in a prominent position and so that gives them some incentive that gives them some get up and go if she did it then I can do it."

A similar message echoed in Manayunk where Theresa Davis, the owner of Vamp Boutique, has graphic t-shirts geared to inspire women.

"We have shirts celebrating Black women, like brown skin girl. It's important to spend your dollars at a Black-owned business because it helps to close the wealth gap that we have," said Davis.
Shoppers we spoke with say they purposely chose to shop at a Black-owned store.

"I have a pretty mixed family and I like to give back as much as I can," said Leigh Pesko of East Falls.

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Many owners are hoping they can inspire others.

"It's really important because we got young people, older people trying to build their brand and become entrepreneurs in some way," said Jasmine Jones, owner Mizz Body.

Like Jayden Hawkins-- a teenager greeting people at the door on Friday.

During last month's civil unrest, Jayden says he broke a window of a Black-owned business and the owner in return gave him a job. Now, he hopes to one day own his own business.
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