Nine Black businesswomen were honored Saturday for their participation in 1Pier.
The nine entrepreneurs have made history as the first African-American business collective to operate a kiosk at the St. Pete Pier Marketplace.
1Pier is a social enterprise concept designed to invest in participating retailers’ growth by covering about 70 percent of the total cost of operating the stall during its first two years. Each participating retailer contributes a monthly space-sharing fee, along with inventory investments, marketing support and at least five hours of volunteer time per month to staff the stall.
1Pier, which gets financial support from the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg and the City of St. Petersburg, is part of a larger equity initiative called the One Community Plan, a 10-year economic growth plan devoted to “growing the paychecks, bank accounts and balance sheets of African Americans in St. Petersburg.”
“Social enterprise is a collective of businesses that have come together to do something for their community, whether they are giving back via their product, their service or whatever their ware is,” said Esther Eugene, CEO of All Administrative Solutions and interim operations director for One Community Plan. “This is not easy. If you are an entrepreneur or if you have ever stepped out and decided you wanted to walk away from corporate America, it’s scary, so please celebrate them.”
For five of the nine women, 1Pier is the first opportunity they’ve had to operate a standing retail outlet, while three of the women now have two or more retail outlets, said City Council member Deborah Figgs-Sanders, who was emcee for the event.
The entrepreneurs who were honored Saturday night are:
- Beatrice V. Morris, owner, Virgini-Contour Eyewear Accessories (fashionable eyeglass frames & shades)
- Consuelo Mackey-Perry, owner, Tabatha Exquisite Touch (hair care products & more)
- Helena Josephs, Island Flavors and Tings (Jamaican rum cake and mango bread, and catering services available)
- Keisha Long-Watson, owner, InSparkleMe (custom apparel)
- Renee Edwards, CEO, Skin Kandii (all-natural skin care products)
- Safrone Presley, owner, Glow Up Body Oils and Saffron’s Gourmet (line of gourmet island sauces)
- Tahisia Scantling, CEO, Diesel Dog Apparel
- Tanisha Scantling-Williams, Owner & Operator, Agape Soles Shoetique (shoes for all seasons)
- Toni Gallardo, CEO, Lounge Apparel (kimonos)
Gypsy Gallardo, CEO of Urban Market Analytics, a division of The Power Broker Media Group, and publisher of The Power Broker Magazine, was among those on hand at the Pier Saturday night celebrating.
Pastor Louis Murphy Jr. of Mount Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church offered a blessing. Rev. Watson Haynes, CEO of the Pinellas County Urban League, called on those in attendance to support the young businesses.
Mayor Rick Kriseman and Chris Steinocher, president and CEO of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce, offered congratulations, as did Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch.