The Rapidian

Black Market event to mark shift to next phase of GRABB strategic plan

Since coming on the scene in 2013 Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses (GRABB) has been working to elevate the Greater Grand Rapids community’s awareness of Black businesses and the state of Black businesses.
From 2014 Black market Event

From 2014 Black market Event /Candy Apel

Underwriting support from:
GRABB Awards

GRABB Awards /Jamiel Robinson

Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses (GRABB) is hosting their Black Market event featuring the GRABB Awards and pop-up shops on Friday, November 20. GRABB looks to expand opportunities for Black businesses in the metro Grand Rapids area by promoting and creating awareness for Black businesses. GRABB, as an economic development enterprise, is working to foster an economy that creates prosperity and supports the revitalization of predominantly Black neighborhoods.

The Black Market is an event designed to advance the work of Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses.

“The event’s name is a play on the phrase used for the underground economy. Many Black entrepreneurs and businesses operate as 'side hustles,' meaning that the businesses provide supplemental income for the entrepreneurs that may still be employed at a traditional workplace,” says Jamiel Robinson, Founder and CEO of GRABB.

Robinson notes that they’re really excited to recognize those contributing to the forward progress of the Black community at the GRABB awards reception.

“Guests of the Black Market will be treated to an unforgettable evening that will include networking, shopping and great food catered by a locally owned Black Business," says Robinson, "while enjoying the lively atmosphere and celebrating with our awards finalists.”

The GRABB Awards were created to recognize, reward and celebrate Black businesses, individuals and community organizations that work hard to build up and make a difference in our community. 

“The Black Market represents a new era of collective work that produces collective impact and cohesion within the Black business community that produces economic stability, generates awareness and offsets the negative impact of dollars leaking out of the community,” says Robinson.

This year the Black Market will be a one day event where it was previously a two-day event.    

“We decided to condense our event to one day because we are shifting to the next phase of GRABB's strategic plan that focuses on program development and implementation while continuing to create and offer exposure opportunities for Black businesses. The first phase of GRABB’s strategic plan was to bring attention to and create conversations about the state of Black businesses in Grand Rapids," says Robinson. "That’s why we created our #30days30dollars campaign. The first phase of GRABB’s strategic plan has been extremely successful.”

GRABB works closely with current and aspiring entrepreneurs regardless of the stage of their business. Robinson notes the main goal is to enhance and expand the Black business community.

“We believe that creating vibrant business districts anchored by Black businesses is vital in raising the quality of life for families in economically depressed, predominantly Black neighborhoods in Metro Grand Rapids and beyond,” he says.

Robinson says that currently Black-owned businesses are scattered throughout the city and surrounding areas in places likes Cascade, Wyoming and Kentwood.

“By creating defined business districts in predominately Black neighborhoods, it will provide black-owned businesses with a base to attract customers, employees and regional support. It also will create a sense of togetherness and reinvigorate community pride back to marginalized neighborhoods,” says Robinson

“We are working to holistically improve the economic condition of the black community. To do so we have to have to spend money where we live, work and play or we will not able to develop any kind of wealth., says Robinson.

The Black Market will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Start Garden, 40 Pearl ST NW, on November 20, 2015. Tickets for the event are $25 and can be purchased here.

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