COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX) — As the summer festival season in Columbus approaches, several initiatives have launched to help support minority-owned businesses in the city.
Columbus photographer and Airbnb owner, Shellee Fisher said while exploring the Ohio Black Expo website, she came up with The Blacklist.
“I saw where they had lodging and the available hotels and all of a sudden, I thought, well what about Airbnb’s and then I said, what about Black hosts and Black-owned Airbnbs,” Fisher said.
The Blacklist is a repository of Black-owned Airbnbs in Columbus all populated on the Ohio Black Expo website. Fisher said tourists can easily access lodging options while also supporting minority Airbnb owners.
“Black folk, like to support Black businesses,” Fisher said. “When I go to other cities, I do look for Black businesses. Where are the Black restaurants, where are the Black boutiques, where are the Black neighborhoods?”
CBUS Soul, created in February by Experience Columbus, can guide tourists through the rest of their visit to the capital city.
“It gives businesses another platform to be showcased,” Dan Williams, the Chief Sales Officer for Experience Columbus, said. “It’s the restaurants, the tech providers, the influencers. It shows the diversity that is within the DNA of our community.”
Williams said the focal point the platform offers are the two-day itineraries. He said it helps visitors map out a day from start to finish featuring all Black-owned restaurants, retail stores and other attractions.
“There are 185 businesses on the site and if there is a way we can put eyes on those businesses, CBUS Soul is the way to do it,” Williams said.
Donna’s Delicious Dozen is one of the featured businesses on CBUS Soul. Its’ owner, Traci Lukemire said she hopes being a part of the CBUS Soul platform will help her shop grow.
“People who want to support minority-owned businesses don’t always know where to look. It gives them some direction. I’m hoping that people recognize how many minorities owned businesses there are in the city,” Lukemire said.
Lukemire said her donut shop was inspired by family trips on vacation. Now, it’s her everyday dream.
“When me and my family would go on vacation, we would always visit local donut shops. This concept was at a spot we visited but it wasn’t brought to Columbus yet, so I told my husband, I think I can do that,” Lukemire said.
Donna’s Delicious Dozen features made-to-order donuts, including gluten-free options, with a variety of icings, drizzles, and toppings to choose from.
The Ohio Black Expo returns to Columbus Memorial Day Weekend, May 26-29.
NOTE: Festival goers can enjoy Donna’s Delicious Dozen at the Ohio Black Expo Riverfront Culture Fest on May 28 – May 29.