TEXARKANA, Texas — Representatives of 16 local Black-owned businesses collected inside the Four States Fairgrounds Fine Arts Building on Saturday to begin the shopping season.
Dejeune Kinchen, owner of the local Jam Confections Company, organized the eight-hour Holiday Shopping Expo. She said this is the second time this year she organized a Black-owned businesses exposition, with the first one being held during the Juneteeth holiday earlier this year.
As of midday, Kinchen said about 50 shoppers had come through.
"The purpose is to just let the public know that these businesses are here locally, and many of them just opened this year," she said.
Participant Akia Scott said she started her Tips & Sips Adult Crafted Beverages company in May of this year.
"We are a unique business because it's not every day when you have a business situation that allows you to make contact with a customer and say 'Hi, let's come have a drink,'" she said.
Scott said she can reach customers through social media and visit their homes t0 offer mixed drinks of their choice.
Jasmine DeGrate, owner of She is Healing, said she produces homemade bath salts with oil infusions for skin health as a home-based product.
"I've been making these products for myself for years, but I just decided to start putting then on the commercial market during the last few months, and I decided I could make a business of it," she said.
DeGrate added that she works out of her home primarily through Facebook and Instagram.
Stevie Williams, proprietor of Stevie's Power Washing Service, said his Texas-side business specializes in exterior power washing — primarily home and commercial building exteriors.
"I also offer free estimates and I work through Facebook, so if you got the grime, we got the time," he said.
Kennethia Jackson owner of the Texarkana, Arkansas-based BossQueen Fit and Fitness firm, said she sells assorted health and wellness products, mostly vitamins and energy drinks.
"I started this business March 6 and now I'm able to run it full time," she said.
Kinchen said it's possible she will organize another business expo in February during Back History Month.