A local initiative to support Black-owned entrepreneurs is happening this week across Louisville.
502 Black Business Week features discounts and promotions at more than 120 companies. The campaign started in 2018 to celebrate Juneteenth — three years before it became a federal holiday.
Customers must mention 502 Black Business Week to take advantage of deals at participating businesses. The event runs through Saturday.
Tiandra Robinson, who runs T. Marie Consulting, said she created the campaign as a way to increase awareness of local Black-owned businesses after noticing most of her clients were Black entrepreneurs who had trouble promoting their work.
“They didn’t have a lot of money to put into their marketing, nor did they really have the time,” Robinson said. “I wanted to find ways for them to be able to promote their business in an affordable way.”
She said wealth disparities make it harder for Black business owners to market their businesses.
“We’re disenfranchised in this country. We don’t have all of the access and resources that we need,” she said. “It goes back to closing that wealth gap. And Black entrepreneurship is one way that we’re doing that.”
A February 2022 report from the centrist Brookings Institution used data from the Federal Reserve to point out the median net worth of white families was nearly eight times that of Black families, in 2019. The report’s authors said that wealth gap influences rates of business ownership as well.
A variety of retailers, including in food, fashion and travel, are taking part in the campaign.
Among them is Remix Shoe Store on Dixie Highway. Junior partner Taran Wilson, the daughter of co-owner Jay Osborne, said they also offered Juneteenth sales.
“We’ve been doing a 10% off [on] all shoes. And then we have a free jersey or free pair of shorts with a shoe purchase,” Wilson said.
LaTasha Mansfield has two businesses featured this year. One is a yard sign company called Yard Cardzz, which is providing $10 off on rentals.
The other is a photo studio in Jefferson Mall called Feeling MySELFIE, which she co-owns with her sister Meridith Robinson. The adult price for a one-hour session and special photo booth usually costs $47. This week, they’re offering that for $25.
Mansfield said that this campaign is important for both spreading the word about her companies and connecting her to other Black business owners.
“Trying to network and collaborate with other businesses is always going to be the best way when your marketing budget isn’t astronomical as some of these other corporations,” Mansfield said.
In addition to overseeing 502 Black Business Week, Robinson started the campaign 502 Black Eats Week in 2020. It takes place during the first week of October.