Company News

Urban League Marketplace Sets Up at Convention

CLEVELAND – A visitor to Brandon Myers’ table in the Greater Cleveland Urban League’s pop-up store might find his selection of wooden wristwatchs to be the most unusual items they see — or perhaps the wooden cellphone covers.

That is, until they catch his bowtie – also made of wood.

“This is my calling to do this,”said Myers, salesman for Woodbine & Co., Beachwood. “I like the product. I like that it’s eco-friendly and it’s something that the world is going with.

Myers is among 11 exhibitors in the Urban League’s tent at the Republican National Convention this week.

Among the businesses exhibiting in the pop-up store is VictoryGOP2016.com. The store is operated by Tracey Winbush, vice-chairman of the Mahoning County Republican Party and treasurer of the Ohio Republican Party

The store sells Republican and patriotic-themed jewelry and greetings cards, said Dawn Sanford of Southfield, Mich. Sanford was one of two women Winbush hired to staff the booth during the RNC.

The convention represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for minority entrepreneurs, said Michael Obi, a consultant who oversees the Urban League’s entrepreneurship program.

“We have to be here because it’s not every day that we bring 15,000 people to Cleveland,” Obi remarked. “It’s an incredible opportunity for [these businesses] to showcase what they do to create jobs and grow their businesses here.”

Myers, a former landscaper and warehouse worker, selling wood watches, jewelry and accessories six months ago. While vacationing in Hawaii,  he came across koa wood, “and I brought the idea back to Ohio.”

The watches range in price from $120 to $325. Bracelets sell for $100.

Another of the items at his table is a bottle opener mounted on a piece of wood etched with the face of Donald Trump. A magnet is embedded in the wood to keep the bottle cap from falling away once taken off the bottle.

“I’m getting a great response,” he said.

Another exhibitor is Dee Hall, Cleveland, owner of Heads, Hearts & Hands. Retired from the sports marketing firm IMG, where she served as vice president of motor sports, she has operated her company for 13 years.

Hall makes and sells hats, which range in price from $80 to $250. “What I do is allow people to put the punctuation on their outfit,” she said. “It might be an exclamation point. … It might be the period. It just allows your individuality to come through.”

Ron Stokes, president and CEO of Three Leaf Productions Inc., Gahanna, said he’s pleased with the opportunity that the marketplace provided for his integrated marketing company to connect with clients. “We’re excited for what the Urban League has done in providing this venue for companies like mine to be here,” he said.

Pictured: A wood-carved bottle opener with Donald Trump’s likeness is on sale at the Greater Cleveland Urban League’s RNC marketplace.

PREVIOUS:
She’s a Delegate, Vendor and Broadcaster at RNC

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.