Central Ohio African American Chamber of Commerce celebrates first year

Black History Month

Educate, empower, and advocate. That’s the goal of an organization now celebrating its first year in Columbus.

The Central Ohio African American Chamber of Commerce is celebrating its one-year anniversary this January, and organizers say they are just getting started. 

“No one gets to a position, or station in life by themselves,” Donya Lewis said. Lewis is the owner-operator of Donya’s Florals. A Columbus florist that’s been around since 2014, but this last year, she says, business is blooming. ”We were blessed to become the resident florist for the Columbus convention center,” Lewis said. It is a move Lewis said she could not have made without the help of the COAACC.  

“Within 6-8 months, she was their resident florist,” J. Averi Frost, the executive director of the COAACC said. In its first year the organization has signed up 86 new local businesses, right on track with their early goals, “I think any entrepreneur is excited about a new resource that is going to help them grow their business,” Frost said.  

According to Frost, the organization’s goals are to help its members better understand their industry, grow their business, network and advocate, “We really want to work to position ourselves to be a voice for our business community,” Frost said.  

With year one in the books, the organization hopes next year brings even more growth, “I expect us to double if not more than that, our membership in 2019,” Frost added.  

Growing is something Florist Donya Lewis hopes to do as well, “I am so thankful, I see myself staying here in central Ohio and continuing to grow,” Lewis said. 

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