Spotlighting three Black-owned NYC businesses for Black History Month

Black History Month
BHM cover

BHM cover

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Black-owned businesses have been hard hit by coronavirus closures. In honor of Black History Month, PIX11 talked to three Black business owners from New York City to see how they’re getting by nearly one year into the COVID-19 pandemic.

Watch our full interview here.

Meet:

  • Janelle Williams, Owner of Light the Candle Co.
  • Shelly Marshall, Owner of Island Pops
  • Sunshine, Owner of Happy Cork
Light The Candle Co.
Light The Candle Co.

Q: Your tag line is “The candle that keeps on giving” — what inspired you to want to use the proceeds from your products to give back to the community, specifically low-income schools?

Janelle Williams, Owner of Light The Candle Co.: I was inspired to use my funds to help my students because I truly believed that no student should be left behind or be without. I work in a low income school district and something as small as a pencil can be a difficult item for students to obtain. Being able to provide them with things that will help them succeed is the most fulfilling thing I could do. If I could do more, I would!

Q: How can the PIX11 audience help support your business?

Janelle: By sharing my social media, website and spreading the word! If one person tells another person, there’s no limit to where we can go. The more people know about my business, the more I can grow and help my students in ways I never thought were possible!

Island Pops
Island Pops

Q: In what ways have you infused your Caribbean culture within your business to deliver a one-of-a-kind experience to your customers?

Shelly Marshall, Owner of Island Pops: All of our flavors tie back to some memory from our childhoods. We make sure that we carefully craft the story behind each flavor to our customers. We tell folks that we don’t sell ice cream, but rather sell nostalgia. When a customer comes in, they leave with one of two things: a nostalgic longing for the islands based on their own memories OR a wanting/yearning to visit the islands if they’ve never been there.

Q: How can the PIX11 audience help support your business?

Shelly: We sell through nationwide shipping, NYC local deliveries, or in-store service. You can support us by purchasing a gift card or product from us at your convenience or you can simply spread the word to family and friends. Give a nice Yelp or Google review or a simple Instagram shout-out — it helps and goes a long way.

Happy Cork
Happy Cork

Q: How do you go about sourcing the Black-owned products that you sell throughout your store such as the wines and accessories? Have you faced any challenges while doing so?

Sunshine Foss, Owner of Happy Cork: In the beginning, I would find brands online through searches. However, we are pleased to see that people are getting in touch to get their own brands into our store. These brands weren’t previously represented through distribution, so it was a big challenge to get distributors to understand there was a want for these products.

Q: How can the PIX11 audience help support your business?

Sunshine: Visit the store, check out the website; we deliver and ship. Follow us on social media, share our story and show us some love.

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