Black businesses pop up in North End storefronts for ‘Taking BLK Gottingen’

Click to play video: 'Taking BLK Gottingen event features Black-owned vendors'
Taking BLK Gottingen event features Black-owned vendors
We check in with Alex Ross, creator of Family over Fame clothing brand. The Uniacke Square resident is one of 15 Black-owned vendros taking part in this weekend’s Taking BLK Gottingen pop-up market event in Halifax – Jul 17, 2020

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.

African Nova Scotian businesses are taking over Gottingen St. to mark the last weekend of Halifax’s Re-Open City initiative. The Khyber Centre for the Arts (Artwork by Bria Cherise Miller) / Facebook

Organizing the event was important “because of the really intense gentrification and displacement of the local Black community,” Miller says.

Story continues below advertisement

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.

Read more: Group launches campaign aimed at promoting local Black businesses in Halifax

Read next: Grammys 2023: The brightest, boldest and best looks from the red carpet

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.”

Shelley Mensah, owner of Hibiscus Specialty Foods, is taking part in the ‘Taking BLK Gottingen’ initiative aimed at supporting Black business in Halifax from the Propeller Brewing Co’s storefront. Karla Renic/Global News

Mensah and her mother moved to Halifax from Guyana when she was a young girl.

Story continues below advertisement

“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.

Click to play video: 'Buy Black Halifax'
Buy Black Halifax

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.

Story continues below advertisement

Many of those businesses had to close shop at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, so this year, it was a celebration of re-opening, according to the city website.

Re-Open City’s last weekend will feature 18 Black-owned businesses, including clothing brands, artists, cooks, bakers and other creatives.

Read more: Small businesses pivot to stay afloat during pandemic

Read next: Grammys 2023: Beyoncé now the most decorated artist in Grammy history

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.

Story continues below advertisement

The businesses will be in their host locations from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. this weekend.

With files from Jesse Thomas.

Sponsored content