Black Business Market Returns for Second Year

WARREN, Ohio – Adrian Favors has participated in the monthly Black Business Market three times since it was launched last year, and he’ll be there for the next one.

The market is a place where local and regional Black business owners and entrepreneurs can showcase their products to prospective customers. The brainchild of Candice Dukes of Warren, the market took place seven times in 2020, from June to December, at several locations in Warren.

The first one of 2021 will be Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. at the Metroplex on Belmont Avenue in Liberty. Admission is free. Favors says the market is an effective way to get the word out about his business and introduce himself to potential customers. He co-owns The Revive Station, a beauty and barber salon at 1821 Elm Road NE.

“Our numbers went up since we joined the business market project,” he says. “We enjoy doing it and we will be there on Saturday.”

Candice Dukes, Julia Okeowo and Elizabeth Okeowo pause for a photo at a Black Business Market in the parking lot of RBG Eatery in Warren last summer.

His shop offers a range of hair-cutting and styling services for men and women, including braiding, dreadlocks and “trendy styles,” Favors says. He also sells a full line of hair gels, moisturizing creams, body scrubs and other beauty products. Arei Ashick co-owns the shop with Favors. 

When the weather warms up, the market will move outdoors to the parking lot of RBG Eatery, 1958 Palmyra Road SW. Dukes’ family has owned and operated the Warren restaurant for almost 50 years.

“I was raised in the business,” says the 32-year-old Dukes. “I was counting the change on a milk crate when I was 5 years old.”

She got the idea for the market during last year’s unrest over social injustice toward the Black community.

“I wanted to do something to give back and promote positivity within the Black community,” she says.

With Dukes’ background in retail business, the market was an immediate success.

“I didn’t think it would get as large as it has become,” Dukes admits.

The inaugural market had 55 participating businesses. By August it grew to 73, with many repeat vendors.

“It’s going good,” Dukes says, “so we want it to keep going, keep promoting minority businesses in the area, and from Cleveland, Akron and Pennsylvania.”

She hasn’t kept a count of how many people attend the events as shoppers. “But we’re packed each time,” she says. “There are hundreds of people, coming and going.”

To register as a vendor for an upcoming market, go to TheBlackBusinessMarket.site. The fee is $60.

A Warren native, Dukes is currently finishing up her bachelor’s degree at Cleveland State University. She also works for PNC Bank.

The Black Business Market isn’t her first entrepreneurial effort. Dukes also owns MLK and HNY, an online store that offers custom T-shirts, accessories and apparel. Go to Mlkandhny.com.

Pictured at top: A view of a Black Business Market last summer in the parking lot of RBG Eatery in Warren. The first market of 2021 will be Saturday at the Metroplex in Liberty.

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.