RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — COVID-19 and the global pandemic has forced businesses across the country and here at home to close their doors for good — but a few business owners in Raleigh are using what could be considered a dark time to add new light to downtown.
“We got some crazy looks. I know I got some crazy looks and phone calls. Are you sure you want to do this during a pandemic? During COVID season?” said Johnny Hackett.
He’s one of the co-owners of the space. Hackett who heads, Black Dollar NC, an online directory of black business in Raleigh, joined forces with the leaders of the Black Flea Market, One of One Lab Boutique, The Weave Bar NC, and Li M Chi Clothing to open Black Friday Market, a co-op retail space at the corner of Hargett and Salisbury Street.
“It’s a store we opened for small business owners who don’t have a physical retail space. What we do is allow them to pay one flat fee for the month and then they can get their products in the store sold for 30 days. That’s commission-free,” explained Hackett.
While other businesses are barely surviving, Black Friday market is thriving. So far 75 business owners are selling their products inside the store. That includes everything from candles to clothing. Approximately 90 percent of the business owners are black.
While Black Friday Market has found a place to thrive, other black-owned businesses might not survive this pandemic.
According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, African-American businesses were hit the hardest by COVID-19. The NBER found that from April 2020, black business owners in the United States dropped by 41 percent. But those numbers weren’t enough to deter Hackett and the other co-owners from moving forward.
“When you look at certain financial crises or dark times sometimes it is a good time to strike forward to open a business or start a new business and we took a vantage of that and we’re full-steam ahead,” he said.
Black Friday Market opened mid-December and hit $41,000 in sales last week.
“To give those folks an opportunity to sell their merchandise in a storefront in a primetime location in downtown Raleigh, I think we are just very humble and proud to do that,” Hackett said.
Black Market Friday is open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. You can find out more about Black Friday Market here.