Community of local entrepreneurs work together for Small Business Saturday

Customers line up at Community Book Center
Customers line up at Community Book Center(FOX 8 photo)
Updated: Nov. 24, 2018 at 8:54 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The day after Black Friday, is a time for local businesses to take the spotlight and one community of business owners said it is an especially important day for them.

Journey Allen, a local artist, opened her Broad Street studio to other vendors in the community Saturday (Nov. 24).

“Well, it’s very important to support Small Business Saturday not just on Saturday, but every day of the week really, because we’re the heartbeat of the city, and without these little small cozy places, you really wouldn’t have the culture,” Allen said.

Allen opened her business - Artist Journey Allen Gallery Studio - with her sons in the 7th Ward, with a goal to build and empower her community, a goal that was recognized Saturday.

“The entrepreneurs are just coming out, utilizing this space to have an opportunity to make sales because they don’t have a physical location like I do, so I invited them to come out and sell their wares,” Allen said.

Around the corner, the Community Book Center also offered its space to entrepreneurs.

“We provide opportunities for independent business owners and artists, authors, to have a location where they can pop up and sell their merchandise,” Vera Warren Williams, Community Book Center Founder, said.

Business owners on Bayou Road said this is a tight-knit community where they all support each other.

"It's not just commerce that goes on in this spot, or neighborhoods like this. It's what, the current that runs underneath it," William Daly-Casillas said.

"I think it's extremely important for us to support local artists and businesses because the locals keep the money in the community longer, and they also support community and local initiativies," Warren-Williams said.

For Daly-Casillas, it's more than just a business.

"It's a labor of love. I started this company with my partner who has since passed, so I'm carrying on that legacy and keeping it going. I'm really proud of myself," Daly-Casillas said.

It’s also a chance for the community to learn about resources right in their backyard, like Top Box Foods.

“Top Box Foods is a nonprofit dedicated to food access, and so we partner with different churches and community organizations to bring affordable box groceries right to where people are already going and gathering,” Lauren Reyes, director of development for Top Box, said.

Black Heritage and Tours - a local tour company - helped boost business by bringing visitors to Bayou Road.

“We unload the bus straight into the community book center," owner Mikhala Iverson said. “That is our hub for culture, academics, and community, and we speak the truth and we support each other and the small black-owned businesses here on Bayou Road.”

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