The People’s Market: Black Minneapolis Businesses Create ‘Economic Reclamation’ After Failed City Expo

The People’s Market: Black Minneapolis Businesses Create ‘Economic Reclamation’ After Failed City Expo

Following a big loss in the city, Minneapolis community activist J. DeVon Nolen stepped in, banding together a passionate team of entrepreneurs to reclaim an economic opportunity for the city.

During Black History Month, approximately 20,000 people anticipated reaping the winning efforts of the “I Am My Ancestors’ Wildest Dreams” Black business expo, CBS News reported. But the event meant to empower Black businesses failed.

The City of Minneapolis’ new Racial Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Department organized the expo and lost close to $1 million in the venture. Black vendors also suffered a major loss. The city auditor’s office is investigating why the original plans fell through and results will be presented later this month, according to KTSP.

Meanwhile, the community called on Nolen to help find a solution to fill that void.

“The loss, the extraction of resources, it evoked all kinds of emotions,” Nolen said, per the news outlet. “It was very painful, and it catapulted me into action.”

Calling it an act of “economic reclamation,” Nolen joined The Dream Shop owner ,Markella Smith; and Kamillah El-Amin, owner-operator of Royal Foundry Craft Spirits Distillery, to provide a space for The People’s Market. The Market will gather more than 30 vendors in a 15,000-square-foot building.

“This is an opportunity for us to remind ourselves that the solutions we need often come from community. We are constantly reacting to things that are happening to us,” Nolen said.

“This is an opportunity for us to be proactive and send a message to these entrepreneurs that we care about business in the City of Minneapolis and we want you to be successful.”

Smith added, “We are giving vendors who were at the expo — or who could have been at the expo — giving them a chance to make back some of the money they lost.

The People’s Market will occur from 3:30-7:30 p.m. Friday at 241 Fremont Avenue North.