Community resource celebrating & supporting Black-owned businesses in Spartanburg unveiled

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SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – The first of its kind online directory for the City of Spartanburg, it’s dedicated to finding and supporting Black-owned businesses.

A sanctuary of sorts for Arialle Kennedy Smith. She owns AVK Dance Studio in Spartanburg.

But between the tendus, glissades and chasses, came a difficult year.

“There were times when it became a little tight financially, we just had to figure some stuff out,” said Owner of AVK Dance Studio, Arialle Kennedy Smith.

They’ve held virtual recitals but not being able to fully perform in front of a live audience, has made things hard.

But Kennedy Smith told us loans have helped and now, there’s a new tool that’s creating even more hope.

“We have an online presence but a central place is always great as well where people can go to find anything they need, so I’m thankful for it,” said Kennedy Smith.

She’s one of a handful of businesses listed on Spartanburg’s new Black-owned business directory website.

“This is a community database where you can go from a community standpoint and just search for Black-owned business,” said Equity and Inclusion Manager with the City of Spartanburg, Natasha Pitts.

It’s a plan Spartanburg’s Equity and Inclusion Manager, Natasha Pitts has been working with other city leaders on for months. She told us, minority-owned businesses have been especially hit hard by the pandemic.

“You look at the CARES Act money or the PPP loans, it just didn’t go to a lot of Black-owned businesses like we thought,” Pitts said.

On top of that, she has gotten a handful of calls with people looking for minority-owned businesses to support. That’s the intention of this website, a list of Black-owned businesses in the area broken down by profession.

Pitts is asking more black-owned businesses to register on this directory. You can find a link to it here: https://www.blkspartanburg.com/

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