Connecticut Website Aims to Showcase Black-Owned Businesses

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Throughout the last few months, black-owned businesses have seen a surge of customers looking to support and help stores that sometimes go unnoticed.

Shopblackct.com is a one-stop-shop to utilize the services of black-owned businesses in Connecticut.

Sarah Thompson is the founder of the website and came up with the idea after attending a few protests following the death of George Floyd.

"We wanted to create a platform that would go beyond a list and really provide a free resource for black-owned businesses in Connecticut," said Thompson. "We all play a role in tackling systemic racism and what that role is can vary from person to person."

Thompson recruited her co-worker Yvette Young to locate minority-owned businesses. Young also publishes articles on the site to showcase the inequities that black owners face.

"It's more than just a directory, but it's also becoming a platform to have a conversation about racial justice issues and to elevate that topic and to explain why supporting black-owned businesses are so essential," said Young.

When the site first launched on July 1, there were more than 175 black-owned businesses and now there are more than 880 businesses listed on the site from 79 cities and towns inside the state.

Captial Ice Cream Store Front in Hartford.

Chantell Kelly is the owner of Captial Ice Cream in Hartford and is highlighted on the site.

Chantell Kelly hard at work preparing a cake for a hungry customer. Kelly started her business in downtown Hartford 3 years ago.

"I'm just so proud, for me personally, it brings tears to my eyes," said Kelly. "It's great to see black-owned businesses getting the chance to receive recognition and support each other."

Key Book Store is right down the street and the owner says they're happy to see a boost in sales.

The Key Book Store prides its self on providing a Divine Liberation One Page At A Time.

"We're beginning to realize our economic power and the importance of putting our dollars not only within ourselves, blacks spending money with black businesses, and then also receiving the investment from outside the community," said Khamani Harrison, CEO of Key Book Store. "It's important to have sites available for us to use and help spread the word about businesses like ours and so many others."

Khamani Harrison is the CEO of the Key Book Store. The shop is curated into 4 separate categories; Afro, Spiritual, Environmental, and Entrepreneurial.

Rochelle Williams also works at Key Book Store.

The Key Book Store has a plethora of children's books for kids of all ages.

"I think what I've noticed right now is the entire social climate is changing or the entire social landscape is kind of changing and that feels really great to see," said Williams. "I think it's great that we get to provide our customers with the knowledge that they need in order to learn and circulate the black dollar."

The Key Book Store is located at 1429 Park St. in Hartford. To find out more information about the Key Book Store, click here.

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