HARTFORD, Conn — It started out of a desire to fight systemic racism after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and it’s grown as a way to showcase and support hundreds of Black-owned businesses in Connecticut.
“I just thought for the past 20 years, I’ve been in the marketing, communications, community work realm, I could maybe produce something that could help elevate and amplify Black-owned businesses, who face many more disproportionate challenges at becoming successful because of systemic racism issues in our society,” said Sarah Thompson, Founder and Co-Contributor for ShopBlackCT.com.
ShopBlackCT.com is a free volunteer-run platform for Black-owned businesses that serves not only as a directory, but also features a blog that tells a story about many of the more than 800 businesses.
“The site is meant to elevate and amplify these Black-owned businesses, help connect people, bridge communities together through the site, and really just provide free marketing support,” said Thompson.
“It’s nice that the site has become a huge resource not only on racial injustice, but also for these businesses, it’s creating resources for the business to access as well. It is so rich and so dynamic in such a short period of time that you know we’re doing the right thing and that we’re moving in the right direction,” said Yvette Young, Contributor for ShopBlackCT.com.
In fact, they say some businesses have already reported increased sales, an impressive feat during the COVID-19 pandemic, when many of the businesses saw slowing sales. Moving forward, the site hopes to reach all corners of Connecticut and let communities know about the smaller shops that could be right in their neighborhoods.
“It warms your heart to realize that a project that started with one thought has now had such a major ripple effect and it is now impacting so many lives,” said Young.
The site also features many businesses that are exclusively online or at least have an online option for people who don’t feel comfortable heading out during the pandemic.