COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)– Since the death of George Floyd sparked nationwide protests and a call for change, Columbus has rallied behind its black owned businesses.
“It came out of just need.”
There is a Facebook page with over 60,000 people and its connecting black business owners with the community. It was started less than two months ago by Autumn Perry-Robinson.
“I’ve seen a lot of businesses grow exponentially, which is amazing,” said Perry-Robinson.
Perry-Robinson started the page not realizing it would grow so quickly.
“I love what he’s created,” noted Perry-Robinson. “I think it’s a great resource for people because on the page because I don’t allow negative reviews to be posted.”
That man is MarQuan McCarrell. He saw the traction on the Columbus Black Businesses Facebook page and realized there had to be an easier way for people to access these businesses.
“At the end of the day it’s about a collective idea and helping people understand their buying power and supporting businesses that need it right now,” noted McCarrell.
McCarrell then came up with and idea and created Black Direct. It’s an online app that allows people to access all of Columbus’s black owned businesses.
Businesses like His Image Events of Distinction were one of the first to join. Terri Hearn and her partner Raymonia Lacy jumped on board as soon as they heard about Black Direct.
“It’s exciting because now it feels like we have a place in the community we have a place in the marketplace,” explained Terri Hearn. “It’s a great opportunity for us to get exposure.”
McCarrell hopes this tool makes it a little easier to find and connect with Columbus black businesses. He is a local teacher so he tells me he had some time this summer to dive into a side project.
The app is a web app so you can create an account online and add an icon to your home screen like a normal app. For businesses to join, its a one time fee and users can access it for free.
He says this is just the first version of the app and they hope to upgrade once more businesses apply to be on the directory.