Windsor group challenges local community to 'buy Black' this month

A new Windsor organization is encouraging people to celebrate Black History Month by "buying Black" and supporting local Black-owned businesses.

The group hopes to advance and promote local Black-owned businesses

Maxine Shelton, the CEO of Black Business Can Inc., wants the Windsor community to support local Black-owned businesses. (Tahmina Aziz/CBC)

A new Windsor organization, Black Business Can Inc., is encouraging people to celebrate Black History Month by "buying Black" and supporting local Black-owned businesses.

The local group compiled a list of more than 100 Black-owned businesses in the area ranging from restaurants and realtors to lawyers and landscapers. The online directory can be found on its website.

Maxine Shelton, the organization's CEO is challenging Windsorites to show their support in the month of February and share their experiences online as a way to promote and advance local Black-owned establishments.

"It's the start of something beautiful," she said. "I hope that it's going to be a good start to us making more strategic purchases in the future."

Shelton said she's already received positive feedback from some of the business owners she's approached, including Titi Muwanga, the owner and operator of Suya Grille, which serves Afro-Cajun fusion cuisine.

Titi Muwanga, the owner and operator of Suya Grille, says she's happy to see her business prospering. She's noticed more online traffic to her restaurant's website within the last week. (Tahmina Aziz/CBC)

Muwanga says she's noticed her business has received more attention online over the last week as a result of the group's promotion.

"We've had at least a 95 per cent increase with traffic to our Google site and our website. We got some alerts this morning from Google to actually come in that so definitely has been a positive shift," Muwanga said.

"That's what we want to hear. We want to hear that this is causing businesses to get exposure and to have more finances as well," Shelton said.

Muwanga says the initiative is "phenomenal" and "definitely something that's needed" in Windsor.

"An initiative like this is very important to someone like me because we're not the typical business that you find in Windsor, Ontario. So it definitely is a way to shine a light on the diversity that exists here," she said.

People encouraged to share experience online

Shelton said Black entrepreneurs face systemic barriers that prevent their business from moving forward. She hopes the challenge will lead to long-term allies in the community.

"We can make a difference by choosing every single day to purchase and buy from a Black-led or Black-owned business. And that in doing so, you're a part of the solution and not just make it something to do during Black History Month, but make it a practice, a conscious practice every single month of the year, year after year, to make this world a more equitable place for all," she said.

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.



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