Two young men in their early 20's are hosting a pop-up shop in Norfolk, VA next Wednesday. Robert Garris and Larry Whitaker Jr. are both entrepreneurs, so they understand what it means to be financially stable and the steps to get there. That's why they're holding the Mind Ya Business Pop-Up Shop on June 19. From 4pm to 8pm, the shop will be open at The Venue, West 35th Street Norfolk, VA. The pair are hoping for at least 100 people to come out to the event.
Garris told the Virginian Pilot, "We wanted to do this event because we both just started our own brands. Let's show people that you can buy from Black people and that you can get the same products."
It was important for the pair to host the event on June 19th, known as Juneteenth, an important date for Black people across the country. On that day in 1865, it was announced that the Civil War was over and all slaves were free! This was the official end to the war, two years after Lincoln's Emancipation, Proclamation. Holding the event on June 19th is symbolic of how far Blacks in the country have come, seeing as though we started as slaves here. The flier being used to promote the event (see below) reads, "A Juneteenth community celebration of Black economic empowerment."
The event will host over 15 Black Brands such as mellyPop cosmetics, Intuitive Veggies, GingerHale's. Black people love food, games, and music, so the event will have plenty of each. There will also be poets and musicians there to perform throughout the event, showcasing their talents to the community.
Garris founded This Black Brand LLC, a company that creates t-shirts with positiver messages on the front of them that say things such as, 'This black boy is going to Broadway' or 'This black girl is a lawyer.' The thinking behind this came from Garris believing that once you write things down, you can achieve them. It sort of a vision statement plastered on each buyers' chest.
Mr. Whitaker started his own company as well called, Starve the Ego. Feed the Soul. Staying in the same vain as Garris, Whittaker also is creates shirts that inspire people and also posts motivational messages that help viewers get through the week. Whittaker also gives motivational speeches to different crowd populations throughout the local area. He has a lot on his plate on top of running a business. Larry just received his Master's degree and will be shipped to Kuwait soon to serve as a school counselor.
Whittaker said, "This event is really just to give the opportunity for local businesses to come together, celebrate black culture and have the opportunity to pour into black businesses."