Local Photographer Shoots For Exposure On New Black-Owned Business Site
A photographer who relocated to Newtown from Detroit has become the first Newtown business to seek greater exposure by putting a listing on ShopBlackCT.com, a newly launched statewide business directory.
Kori Andrea Doss of Kori Andrea Photography, which is located in the Highland Plaza at 123 South Main Street, told The Newtown Bee she was excited to discover a regional service directory serving business owners who also happen to be people of color.
“This was a unique opportunity here in this area, especially when it’s helping me by connecting me to clients who may be seeking photography services, and to other people of color who are in business in the area,” Doss said. “The presence of family and friends is a lot different here than I had growing up in Detroit, and it’s great to have a means to connect to others who grew up in the same circumstances and with the same cultural ties as I did.”
Founded by Sarah Thompson, ShopBlackCT.com is 100 percent volunteer-driven and strives to be “the most comprehensive one-stop directory and blog site of Black-owned businesses in Connecticut.”
The mission of ShopBlackCT.com is to challenge structural racism and transform the legacy of economic and social inequity in the US by providing a platform to drive business to and awareness of local Black-owned businesses.
The team of volunteers behind the site, numbering more than two dozen, give their time, energy, and talent to keep the site running and relevant.
“This effort is 100 percent about giving, lifting up others, and expecting nothing in return,” the site states. “Team members do not profit anything off of the site nor is the site used for any financial or personal gain.”
Listings on ShopBlackCT.com are free, and additional support is provided through pro bono digital marketing, writing, and photography services. Businesses never have to pay for any services to receive support.
The free resource seems to have appeared at the right time. Blogger Khanyi Molomo, who is referenced on the site, relates that funding is often the biggest challenge for new entrepreneurs, regardless of race.
“Almost no one gets to start armed with a check for the full amount they need to get things off the ground,” Molomo writes. “So many of us resort to either digging into our own pockets or turning to family and friends for investments.”
The site not only provides complimentary marketing services for people of color, but it also offers resources and information, like a link to a report from prosperitynow.org that found Black-owned businesses nationally average only $58,000 in annual revenue compared to $546,000 for white-owned businesses.
Another link to a June 2020 report from marketwatch.com, explains that one way Americans can continue to address inequality over the long term is to “put their money where their mouth is and spend their cash at Black-owned businesses.”
'A Bit Helpless'
Khadijah Robinson, the founder of The Nile List, another online directory of Black-owned businesses, told Marketwatch, “You start feeling a bit helpless in times like this — ‘What can I do? I’m only one person,’” Robinson said. “Supporting Black-owned business is a small piece, but it’s something that people can do consistently, even when people are not protesting anymore.
“It’s not going to fix everything overnight, obviously,” Robinson added. “But it’s something you can do and be a little conscientious about on a consistent basis and make a small difference.”
ShopBlackCT.com also includes links to agencies poised to help business owners across the state, from Access Health CT, Connecticut’s health insurance exchange, to the Community Economic Development Fund, Connecticut Small Business Development Center, and the Black Business Alliance.
As far as Newtown’s Doss is concerned, “I think it’s important for Black business owners to have our talents promoted to a more broad audience.”
“I think people of color who open their own businesses have a lot to offer, especially in Newtown,” Doss added. “I’m excited for other people of color to have the same opportunity and to share our gifts with this community.”
Doss said site operator Thompson and her volunteer team helped make it “super easy” to get listed.
See Doss’s portfolio galleries and learn more about her business at koriandrea.com — and search the ShopBlackCT directory at shopblackct.com to find and support Black-owned businesses in towns across the state.