RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Despite a spike in coronavirus cases across Central Virginia a Jackson Ward business opened its doors earlier this month—at a time when most local businesses are struggling just to stay afloat.
Alex Tucker, co-owner of The Spot on Broad Street in Richmond, said that it isn’t all about the money. Tucker said he and his business partners saw their work as more than a lucrative opportunity.
The Spot is a multi-purpose creative studio that offers retail in the front of the store and a working studio in the back. The work space offers a place for the owners to facilitate orders and for photographers to have space if they’re looking to shoot.
“Six different brands, seven owners,” he said. “And our goal was to help be the middle man, facilitate things and help bring people’s ideas to life.”
Tucker said working with six creative individuals can create a lot of moving parts but he said everything was handled the right way in order to make things run smoothly.
Starting a business during a pandemic sounds like a gamble, but Tucker and his business partners said it was one they were willing to take.
“I had a lot of downtime to think about what I wanted to do. I was already making my own clothing — had my own business,” he said. “All the other members pretty much did as well, it made sense for us to come together and COVID was what allowed that to happen.”
But what resources are there available for Black businesses in the City of Richmond?
“The Jackson Ward Collective,” said Melody Short, co-founder of The Jackson Ward Collective.
The Jackson Ward Collective is a hub created by three Black businesswomen — Rasheeda Creighton, Kelli Lemon and Melody Short with the goal of helping other Black business owners navigate the entrepreneurship industry.
The members-only hub started in mid-September and was established to help connect Black business owners with one another to help ensure sustainability. Also, in an effort to support the businesses involved with the group they offer legal and sponsorship services as well.
Short said The Jackson Ward Collective said they embody all the Black businesses that came before them.
“It pays homage to the success of Black capitalism and Black Wall Street,” Short said. “So ultimately we seek to reestablish that spirit of Black entrepreneurship and ultimately ownership “
Tucker shared that he reached out to be a part of The Jackson Ward Collective. However, he said they already reached their capacity.
“We had to actually put a pause on our membership because within a two weeks time period we welcomed over 150 member businesses,” she said. “Because we do a lot of one on one work with the members, we want to make sure we’re giving them the undivided attention that they need.”
Tucker said he wants to be apart of the hub because of its mission.
“I like the idea of helping minority-owned businesses get through this, it can be weary to start a business,” he said. “Especially in something we have no idea when it’s going to be over.”
Tucker said The Spot is happy to be on Broad Street and to be a part of the Jackson Ward community.
“We’re just excited to be a part of the Richmond community — the Jackson Ward community, he said. “And to not only be a retail space but be a space that gives back and that you see our footprint not just from people wearing our clothes but from people speaking highly of us.”
The Spot is participating in the Dreamers Academy Foundation (DAF) Toy Drive, he asks if you can, please bring a toy the next time you visit The Spot.
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