Black business owners in Gainesville and surrounding towns can use a platform to reach more consumers to support their products and services.
Gainesville Black Professionals this month launched its “Minority Business Directory” which features more than 100 companies in various industries including real estate, apparel, beauty, food, fitness, finance, health and more.
Virginia Grant, executive director of GBP, said she has seen an increase in the number of companies added to the website since its launch on August 5.
“I’ve seen an increase in subscriptions and an increase in website traffic,” Grant said. “It definitely piqued the interest of our community.”
Grant, who established GBP in March 2016 to feature professionals from all segments of Gainesville and Alachua County in hopes that lasting business relationships will be formed, said the directory’s goal is to foster equality and economic opportunity by closing the equity gap within the community. . The non-profit organization has in the past organized the GBP Movers & Shakers gala, published two annual editions of “Synergy” magazine, which aims to recognize and give more visibility to African-American professionals in North Central Florida, and held several leadership workshops and discussions with community leaders on social and health disparities in Gainesville and Alachua County.
Grant said it’s important to partner with small businesses for the directory to ensure they get the exposure and marketing they need.
“It’s advantageous because small business owners don’t have a large advertising budget,” Grant said. “It’s important that people know about your business to grow your business. The more consumers know, the more money can stay in our community. This keeps money flowing longer.”
Grant said the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in May sparked a desire among local consumers and business owners to support Black-owned businesses.
With the help of Feathr employees, Grant’s vision of a GBP directory came to fruition.
Feathr is a software company founded in 2012 that provides digital marketing tools for events and associations.
“It was helpful to me because they handled the tech side,” Grant said. “If you have a vision, you need people to help you achieve it.”
Taylor Spangler, director of customer education for Feathr for over a year, along with her husband Thomas Storey, director of engineering for Feathr for over four years, helped with hypertext markup language (html) and Directory encoding on the GBP website.
Spangler said being able to use the resource was his primary motivation.
“We encourage people to submit their information,” Spangler said. “I think this is a really good opportunity for consumers and businesses in the community.”
Storey said he was lucky to be part of the project to help local small businesses attract more customers.
“I’m glad I was able to help out and allow people to use it,” Storey said. “It’s great to show off the great companies in our city.”
Tara Crawford-James, owner of Tara J Weddings, is one of many companies in the directory.
Crawford-James founded his company in 2006 and specializes in event planning for weddings, graduations and baby showers.
She also provides decorations and chair and table rentals for anyone who needs them.
Crawford-James said Grant reached out to her and asked if she wanted to be in the yearbook.
“I think it’s good, especially for reaching more people online,” Crawford-James said. “During the pandemic, it is difficult for us to network. This is the perfect time to release this.
The directory is free for business owners.
To list your business in the directory, visit https://bit.ly/314WjQm.
GBP will host a small business marketing webinar on Tuesday at 1 p.m.
To register, visit the Gainesville Black Professionals events page on Facebook.