Saturday and Sunday, local Black businesses are setting up pop-ups in Halifax North End stores, cafes and food places, to show and sell their work in a historically Black neighborhood.
“Taking BLK Gottingen” was organized by the North End Business Association and The Khyber Centre for the Arts, alongside other partners.
Khyber coordinator Bria Miller says the first day of the market went really well, and she was glad to see people abiding by social distancing rules and wearing masks.
Organizing the event was important “because of the really intense gentrification and displacement of the local Black community,” Miller says.
Historically, she says Gottingen had more Black businesses than it does now.
“We don’t get these opportunities, to collaborate and be out in spaces in this way,” Miller says.
“We’re here on our own terms and sharing space. That brings me joy,” she says.
Hibiscus Specialty Foods owner Shelley Mensah set up a pop-up kitchen at Propeller Brewing Co.
Mensah makes pepper sauces, chutneys, spreads and caters Caribbean-inspired foods including roti, patties and jerk chicken.
She says participating in local festivals and markets, like Taking BLK Gottingen, is important. “It’s nice to support any organization that has a voice, has something to say about something that is important to their community.”
Mensah and her mother moved to Halifax from Guyana when she was a young girl.
“When I came here in 1969, Gottingen Street was the hub of Halifax,” she says.
In 1988, they opened a Caribbean deli on Gottingen Street together, “before Halifax was hip to international foods,” she says.
“We wanted the Black people in the area to see other Black people owning businesses.”
Mensah says she remembers six other Black-owned businesses on Gottingen at the time.
“We wanted to show that Black people can own things… We have to be a part of the entrepreneurial spirit,” she says.
The “Taking BLK Gottingen” initiative marks the last weekend of Re-Open City.
Open City is an annual celebration of local entrepreneurs and small businesses in Halifax.
Re-Open City’s last weekend will feature 18 Black-owned businesses, including clothing brands, artists, cooks, bakers and other creatives.
All food-related businesses can be found at:
- G Street Pizza (Hills Jamaican Jerk Sauce)
- Propeller Brewing Co (Hibiscus Specialty Foods)
- Vandal Donuts (Mama D’s Cheesecakes)
- The Local (RnB Kitchen)
Clothing and jewelry brands will be at:
- Seven Bays (TREv Clothing)
- Blue Collar (Family Over Fame)
- Alteregos Café (Bria Makes Things)
- Foggy Goggle (Rocks From My Bra)
- Eyelevel (I’thandi Munro)
Artists can be found at:
- Hop Yard (Tricia Crawley Art)
- Radstorm (She Nubian Liberation Art)
Several cosmetics and hair-care specialists will pop-up at:
- Independent Mercantile (Queens and Kings Naturals)
- Foggy Goggle (Carmalina Naturals, Undressed Luxury bath Bombs, Martha’s private Hair Consultations, and Bad Publicity Cosmetics)
There will also be a marketing company at Foggy Goggle, Sankofa Marketing and Sales.
The businesses will be in their host locations from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. this weekend.
With files from Jesse Thomas.