ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — There is a local nonprofit organization that’s spotlighting African-American owned businesses. It’s called Green Book of Tampa Bay and they say they are helping consumers put their green into black.
Lorielle Hollaway is the owner of Cultured Books in St. Pete. Almost every book on her shelf is written by minorities for minorities.
“It’s really important to read text that speaks to them and their experience,” said Hollaway.
Cultured Books is one of more than 400 black-owned businesses to be promoted on the website, Greenbooktampabay.org.
“Green Book is not just a great way of highlighting your business but also getting you in touch with resources to help your business,” said Hollaway.
Hillary Van Dyke and Joshua Bean founded the Green Book of Tampa Bay last year as a way to bridge the gap between black-owned businesses and the rest of the economy.
“We got into this wanting to increase the circulation of black dollars in the black community but we also wanted white people, people who look like me, to really circulate their dollars in the black community as well,” said Bean.
Placing a business on the site is free and Green Book of Tampa Bay encourages owners to add pictures and stories. They say during the pandemic consumers want to know where every dollar is going.
“Really when we think about what’s an action I can take now as a consumer, one of those things is to make sure I’m spending money in my own neighborhood, to help more businesses stay open, and more people keep their jobs,” said Van Dyke.
These founders said black-owned businesses are not showing up high in google searches. They said with Green Book you will get noticed and you will get clicks.
“I make it a point to always ask when somebody comes in, ‘how did you hear about us’ and I get a lot of responses, ‘oh the Green Book, we saw you in the Green Book,'” said Hollaway.