Nashville Business Owner Spreads Love To Small Black Businesses Through Coupon Book
Thomas Kelly, the creative executive director of Creative Soulz Printing in Nashville, Tennessee, is determined to help small-business owners in his city. In an effort to spread the word about local Black-owned stores and restaurants, Kelly created the Nashville Black Business Coupon Book and will host a celebration to release its second edition on August 10.
More than 80 businesses can be found in the magazine-style resource.
“I know that I cannot grow if I’m not helping others along the way,” said Kelly. “And I just feel like, especially with Black businesses, we don’t have a lot of the resources and the support. So if we can branch together and form a community together, then we’re going to be stronger in numbers when it comes to that.”
According to WSMV News, a 2019 U.S. Census Bureau report had 134,000 Black-owned businesses on record in Nashville, a number that has continued to grow since the pandemic. Today, more than 26 percent of the city’s small businesses are Black-owned.
Still, sustainability and funding continue to be a problem for Black business owners in Nashville.
Efforts by locals like Kelly and Carlos Partee, who co-founded the Nashville Black Market, where business owners can advertise and sell their products, aim to create more foot traffic and patronage to those who need it most. “We know Black business owners have suffered more losses than other ethnicities,” Partee said. “We are trying to form a platform for entrepreneurs to thrive and continuously be represented.”
Cutting time in half for Black entrepreneurs in order to fast-track them to long-lasting success is the driving force behind Partee’s commitment to maintaining the Nashville Black Market as a key resource in the city.
“Whether that’s coming through a funnel where you go through a class and learn how to do your business a little bit better, learn how to do retail better,” he said. “Then you come to our market and you’re here and you’re put on this platform.”
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