HAMPTON ROADS, Va.— August is National Black Business Month. It’s an opportunity to celebrate millions of entrepreneurs and the services they provide to the community.
Black BRAND: Hampton Roads’ Black Chamber of Commerce is helping connect owners with potential new clients. The organization is highlighting one or two Black-owned businesses each day in August to help promote their growth
“We’re looking to spark ‘a-ha’ moments every day this month… the goal and hope is that new customers will start to flow into these businesses,” says Black BRAND President Blair Durham.
Elegant Occasions Unlimited is a formal wear and fine jewelry boutique in Virginia Beach. The small business is featured on Black BRAND’s website and social media pages Monday.
Owner Latricia Clark-Letsinger shares boutique on Chimney Hill Parkway with her husband, Christopher Letsinger, who runs LaChri Fine Jewelers. The pair have been in Virginia Beach for more than a year and are excited to have the exposure.
“We were in a 40-foot mobile RV. Now, we are in a storefront where we accept our clients by appointment,” says Clark-Letsinger.
The small business is one of dozens being featured locally for National Black Business month by Black BRAND: Hampton Roads’ Black Chamber of Commerce.
Durham says many Black businesses struggle with accessing capital and, as a result, can’t promote their business and expand their clientele.
“There is certainly a gap as it relates to equity in the Black community, and so while [National Black Business Month] does not undermine any other business, we are highlighting and focusing on Black business owners because of the need."
The Letsingers say they are excited to have the spotlight on their business as they work to build a legacy in an industry where Black ownership is scarce.
“I’m the first generation jeweler; I want to give back. I’m in the process of starting a scholarship so that I can bring on other Black entrepreneurs that want to get into the jewelry business because we are less than 1% of that industry,” says Letsinger.
They hope this month inspires budding Black entrepreneurs to take the leap into ownership despite the challenges that come with it.