retailers equipment for shopping day
Local entrepreneurs are adding a unique twist to Small Business Saturday at Westgate Mall with a series of pop-up vacation shops in partnership with a business advocacy group, Black Owned Brockton.
“We’ve supported over 150 Brockton businesses and entrepreneurs. Businesses motivate each other almost daily. It’s like family. It’s nice to see,” said Shaleah Gilmer, founder of Black Owned Brockton.
Twenty-five tables of vendors lined up, waiting for customers to flock and spend money on their products – selling everything from luxury hand-poured candles and clothing, to natural body care products and the bags.
As in previous years, the Downtown Taunton Foundation and the Downtown Taunton Business Improvement District will also be hosting a Small Business Saturday event.
“This year, we will be promoting our downtown businesses through social media based on their Saturday small business specials and promotions,” Eileen Kelleher, program manager, said in an email.
Joseph Olaniyan owns one of those dynamic businesses in downtown Taunton.
Olaniyan, owner of The Barber Zone in downtown Taunton, said he would like to see state and local governments better coordinate their efforts to support small businesses.
“They have to find a way to revitalize downtown Taunton,” Olaniyan said. “It is the face of the city.”
Olaniyan’s business model is to provide novice hairstylists (and possibly beauty stylists) with a chair and a place to build their own clientele in its 14 Broadway storefront. At the moment, only three of his chairs are occupied, including his. Six are empty.
A barber and trade teacher himself, Olaniyan said the support of the Federal Small Business Administration and its bankers at Citizens Bank has helped him stay open during the pandemic. He didn’t want to disclose his rent.
Bowtie Olaniyan started his first business when he was just 17 years old in his hometown of Lagos, Nigeria. This town, known for the relentless bustle of its entrepreneurial inhabitants, was home to Olaniyan’s “New Kings Barber Shop”.
Since then, Olaniyan’s driving has taken him to the Bronx, Boston, and Taunton. It was in Silver City that he took root, marrying Christine Olaniyan, a native of Taunton and a graduate of Taunton High School.
While Olaniyan remains optimistic about the city and its hairdressing incubator, he would like people to have more reasons to come downtown. A bus stop, for example, or bringing the Motor Vehicle Registry downtown from Washington Street, on the outskirts of what most people would call downtown.
In Brockton, Riana Bastien, owner of “Shop Ririz”, is one of the creative holiday gift vendors at the Westgate Mall Holiday Market.
The local brand sells “mixed-up tote bags” with prominent black numbers displayed on the bag as a treat for small businesses on Saturday.
Bastien will also include a BOGO sale but is still working on the final details. Her eight-piece collection was featured on Shein, a popular international e-commerce website, a few months ago after being selected by the company.
Bastien started the business in his final year of college at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston in 2021, creating caps that protect your hair while you sleep.
The company made a substantial profit and continued to grow. The Ririz boutique offers colorful silk hats, headbands and durags.
“This is my fourth event with Black Owned Brockton. It is an honor to be here and to work with them. Lots of people should come for Small Business on Saturday and see us. We will be here every weekend until on Christmas Eve “, Bastien mentioned.
If you are looking for a simple yet elegant Christmas stocking, the Janica Marcelle collection, a luxury candle brand, can brighten up anyone’s Christmas.
Janica Pierre, the owner, offers four collections to choose from with dozens of colorful and unique candles that will fill any room with expensive fragrant scents at an affordable price.
“Our ingredients are rare, globally sourced and have a refined scent quality. Each ingredient contributes to an exclusively unique scent that is far beyond that of typical department store candles,” said Pierre.
Peter remembers walking into Westgate Shopping Center as a child on Black Friday with the butterfly sensation of the excitement of shopping with his family.
“It’s an ah-ha moment, a full circle of entry into the mall when I was a kid. I never really thought I would ever have a business for sale in the mall. now here in my thirties with a business. It’s just wow to see where I’ve come from and see the progress I’ve made, “said Pierre.
The holiday market, which kicked off on November 19, will have vendors spinning every weekend until Christmas Eve. Small business Saturday shopping hours are noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, November 27.