New Black business directory for P.E.I. off to fast start
‘A great way to continue that Black Lives Matter attitude’
A business directory listing more than two dozen Black-owned businesses on Prince Edward Island came together quickly and was launched only a few days after a call for registrations went out.
"We were planning on launching it a little bit later. And then we thought, 'You know what? Let's just do it. Why are we waiting?'" said Tamara Steele, executive director of the Black Cultural Society of P.E.I.
"So we put the call out for registrations, I think, three days before we launched it and we got like 23 registrations right away."
The directory went live on the society's web site on Feb. 1, marking the beginning of Black History Month.
The society has added a few more businesses since that initial launch and continues to build the online list. It includes a wide range of businesses including event managers, photographers, graphic designers, financial advisors, chefs and bakers.
Steele said the directory is a valuable marketing tool for the businesses.
"There is a really great 'Shop local' culture here in P.E.I., but 'Shop local' often means 'Shop at the businesses where you know the owners or you know people who work there,'" she said.
"Oftentimes Black-owned businesses don't fall in that category for many Islanders."
In addition to listing them in the directory, the society's social media director has been visiting the businesses to promote them on the society's social media channels.
Many of the businesses have recently launched and are run by newcomers who may not be eligible for government support, Steele noted. That makes community support that much more important.
"This is a good time for people to acknowledge how they're spending their money, where they're putting their dollars, what communities they're supporting, what messages they're supporting," said Steele.
"I think this is just a great way to continue that Black Lives Matter attitude."
Businesses that want to be listed in the directory can register on the society's web site.
For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.