Small business, big impact

Bus tour and expo to showcase black owned Evanston businesses

Business owner Hecky Powell welcomes everyone to the second annual event.

Business owner Hecky Powell welcomes everyone to the second annual event.

Amissa Paige, News Editor

Tomorrow, the Black Business Consortium will have their second annual Tour de Noir and inaugural business expo showcasing black owned businesses.

“We want to highlight the fact that black people have a long history of entrepreneurship in Evanston,” director Jean Murphy said.

The tour is from 1-3 p.m., and based on feedback from last year, the Consortium has added a business expo from 3-6 p.m. It is completely free to the public and takes place at the Levy Center at 300 Dodge Ave.

Under the theme “Small business, big impact!” there will opening remarks from Alderman Peter Braithwaite and a panel of business owners from places such as C&W Ice Cream Parlor and YoFresh Yogurt Café, who will discuss the successes and challenges of owning a business in Evanston and their experiences.

They and other local black owned businesses will also have booths set up to provide information, flyers and samples.

Following this, there will be music and performances from ETHS students Alex Harris and Noah Chris, as well as the E-squad step team.

“We want to educate the public and gain supporters of black owned businesses,” Murphy said. “Most people only know about Hecky’s Barbeque.”

The Consortium is anticipating a considerably larger turnout than last year. Over 51 people have registered for the bus tour, filling up an entire bus, compared to last year’s 26. The increasing popularity has led the City of Evanston to co-sponsor it this year.

Murphy added that the Consortium strongly encourages youth to come out to the business expo and talk with successful entrepreneurs and community figures.

There are over 75 black owned businesses around the North Shore, and around 50 have signed up to have a stop on the tour. Support local black-owned businesses this Black History Month by coming out to the expo and shopping locally.