By Desiree Hadley
The digital publication Urban Girl Magazine hosted their first ever “Black Business Crawl” on December 11. The “blogazine” organized the crawl for locals to attend and shop at small Black-owned businesses in Newark and the surrounding area. The idea was borne out of the high engagement I observed for Black-owned business reviews on our blog’s TikTok account. Whenever we posted that type of content, our engagement numbers increased, as did our follower count. I figured why not make this an in-person experience for everyone to enjoy.
To start, a total of about 17 attendees boarded a shuttle bus provided by Party Bus 360 New Jersey. Everyone received a gift bag provided by Urban Girl Magazine filled with products from an array of Black-owned businesses. At 3pm, the first stop on the crawl was the Sistah Shop located at the Mills at Jersey Gardens. Upon arrival every attendee was given an additional gift bag provided by The Sistah Shop full of products created by Black entrepreneurs.
“It was our incredible honor to have the Urban Girl Magazine Black Business Crawl stop by The Sistah Shop. Our store features 90+ Black Women-Owned Businesses from around the country daily, plus local pop-up vendors every weekend. So, when you shop with us, you are supporting so many #sistahsinbusiness. The Black Business Crawl was well-planned and executed and we were excited to have the group with us! We look forward to next year!”–Aisha Taylor, owner of the Sistah Shop
After the first stop, it was on to Boss Blend Coffee. Boss Blend is a cozy coffee shop tucked away at the lower level of 25 Halsey Street. The exposed brick and art work provided by local artists gives this shop a true urban feel. Attendees ordered coffee and tea and stayed a while to chat with one another and the owner before visiting the next business. Kalisha Carmichael, owner of Boss Blend, said: “The Urban Girl Magazine Business Crawl was amazing. This was a great opportunity for people to know that we are located right in their backyard. We had an amazing time chatting and answering all the questions the attendees had. We can’t wait for the next one.”
Next, attendees walked down Halsey Street to Plantivia Wellness Newark, a newly opened CBD product store. The employees and owner educated our participants on the benefits that can be found in CBD products while they shopped. The owner of Plantivia enjoyed having the attendees shop stating, “The guest on the Urban Girl Mag tour were super engaged and ready to shop! We thoroughly enjoyed having them at our store and hope to see them very soon.”
The fourth stop on the crawl was Brownmill Company located at 49 Halsey Street (a few doors down from Plativia). Brownmill is a clothing store filled with custom clothing pieces, much of which is made in-store. Stop number five was The Source of Knowledge Book Store, located at 867 Broad Street, where guests were welcomed with open arms by the owner Patrice McKinney. Attendees purchased books and returned to the shuttle headed to the Newark Winter Village at Mulberry Commons. The Winter Village has ice skating, baked good provided by local bakery Tonnie’s Minis, heated igloos for customers, and a vendor market located inside of the Ironside Newark building. The last and final stop was Neptunes Bar & Grillˆ where a specialty “Urban Girl Cocktail” was added to the menu for the day.
“I didn’t know what to expect during the Urban Girl Magazine Black Owned Business Crawl but what I experienced was pure joy and amazement for the City of Newark. I didn’t realize how may Black-owned gems were located within the community, from purchasing things from coffee to CBD products. The crawl gave me a moment to pause and take in the beauty of the city and more options as to where I can spend my hard earned dollar.”–Esmay Richmond, Yoga Instructor and crawl participant