Pop-up event supports local Black-owned businesses

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Business owners in West Michigan are pushing for more support for Black-owned businesses. 

Sunday afternoon, several small businesses took part in an event called “Vendor Pop Up Shop.”  

Vendors set up in a parking lot on Franklin Street and Fuller Avenue in Grand Rapids. There were business owners from Kalamazoo, Benton Harbor, Battle Creek and Grand Rapids in attendance. The stores ranged from restaurants to accessory lines to boutique owners. 

The event organizer, Charity Christine who also owns Charity Christine Salon, says she feels Black businesses are not supported enough.

Christine says she put this event together to give them a bigger platform to garner local support. She says it was especially necessary after many businesses were forced to close or slow operations due to the pandemic. 

“I feel like COVID has taken a toll on a lot of businesses, especially new businesses. It was something that we didn’t know was coming,” said Christine. “It’s kind of hard to prepare for something you don’t know is going to happen. With this, I don’t want to say it makes up for what we lost because we could never get that back, but it definitely gives us that cushion.”

Christine says she’s working with the city of Grand Rapids to host another pop-up event in the coming months. She says she hopes the next event can take place downtown at an indoor venue.