Local entrepreneurs hope to gain needed exposure during National Black Business Month

Posted at 6:42 PM, Aug 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-03 19:00:13-04

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."

Related: 'Black Matters' event celebrates and supports Black-owned businesses at Selden Market

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.

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