South Florida Black Business Directory Release Party
By Dr. Hyacynthia M. Leonce
Do you buy “Black”? Do you support the Black community with your dollars? Did you ever wonder how you can find a Black business without having to go through the hassle of a google search? Well one group has found a way to make that simple and accessible to you. The South Florida Black Business Directory (SFLBBD) was “born to help the dollar circulate” in the Black community – a fast, easy and simple directory for your convenience.
The South Florida Black Business Directory Release Party was held on Feb. 19, 2017 at MindWareHouse, 111 N.E. First St., Eighth Miami, Fla, for the general public to celebrate the inaugural edition of their business directory; a VIP Private Reception was held for sponsors, local elected officials and special invited guests. More than 250 people attended to celebrate the launch of the new free directory, including Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert, West Park Vice Mayor Brian Johnson, Opa Locka Commissioner Matthew Pigatt, business leaders and community stake-holders. Vincent Bordenca, from Alliance Merchant Services, traveled from Canada for the event.
What exactly is the SFLBBD? Per, their website “The purpose of the South Florida Black Business Directory is to create unity, make the concept of urban networking popular and to promote collaboration amongst Black people. The South Florida Black Business Directory will provide a central platform for the thousands of Black-owned businesses and organizations in South Florida.”
Jimmy Nickerson, co-founder, came up with the idea for this directory “because of all of the injustices happening [in our community] we should buy Black, spend Black and be proud of what we have. Once Nickerson felt that this was what he should do for the South Florida community, he enlisted his friend and colleague Crystal Chanel. “We created this directory to facilitate a “movement” that will change mindsets and impact generations. We have mastered being consumers and not owners and our goal is to help our communities use our $1.7 trillion spending power to buy back in our communities”, stated Nickerson who is co-founder/CEOJNICK Management Group.
Co-founder Crystal Chanel communicated that the first-time Nickerson came to her with the idea she was not ready and was taking care of some medical issues. About a year later, Nickerson revisited the idea with her. At that time, she was having a party where Jimmy attended. In one of the conversations they were having he asked, “don’t you see the vision?” He was pointing out to the crowd of Black people enjoying the party. He then explained to her again the purpose of the directory. Chanel stated that for some reason she “caught” the vision at that point and they began the endeavor of putting the directory together in the Summer of 2016. She conveyed, “The directory is the first step in redirecting the trillions we spend back into Black communities and its businesses. Collectively, we need to refer to the directory www.sflbbd.com before we make a purchase decision” says Co-Founder Chanel.
Chanel was asked what’s the one thing she would like for people to take away from tonight’s event and she specified “It’s bigger than a celebration; we got to go to the website search for Black business, go beyond searching a business, and patronize and support, a Black business.”
They then enlisted the help of Don Wiggins of The Wiggins Agency, the third co-founder. Don was asked why he felt the need to join the venture. He relayed, “I have God in my life, I love my people, and God has given me so many gifts…I just want to die empty. I want to make sure I help people and empower entrepreneurs to be successful and help businesses grow.”
Andre, an attendee of the event, was asked if his business was one of the businesses on the web site and he stated “I’ll support it, but I don’t want to be limited by it. But I’ll support because I understand what it means…I understand what means to support the Black business is.”
Latoya of Good News Goulds, a monthly newsletter circulating in Goulds, Fla., specified this is hot, is the reason why she is a member of this endeavor.
The group’s goals for the directory are to help increase jobs, allow people to restore their own communities, schools, parks, and decrease the level of unnecessary violence within the Black communities. “We need to redefine what it means to be Black to counter the negative images created by the people who benefit from us loving them more than we love ourselves”, stated Vice Mayor Brian Johnson, City of West Park.
Any Black business owner can contact the South Florida Black Business Directory to advertise their business. It’s currently only on-line and free for a basic listing. However; if you want a link to your business website there a fee for that and other services.
“As a publisher of a Black newspaper, we know all too well how important it is for Black people to support Black businesses; to include Black owned media. There is still a digital divided that separates us from the internet. We do support Black-owned businesses and recognize the importance of doing so. Before there was an internet, there were Black publications that push Black folk to doing business with Black folk”, stated Bobby R. Henry, Sr. publisher of the Westside Gazette.
The event was open to the public and with many of the attendees being from the 700 small businesses listed in the directory. Proceeds from tickets sales will support the maintenance of the community created directory and the year-long programs, events and trainings.