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Richmond woman creates app to find Black-owned businesses nationwide

Posted at 9:17 AM, Sep 18, 2020

RICHMOND, Va. -- Markeisha Harris-Minor is a young entrepreneur who has always considered herself to be a resource to people. And she has always wanted to do it, as she says, on a macro level.

So, last December, she came up with an idea for a new app she calls Blocal Search.

What is it?

“This is a nationwide directory and app for locating Black-owned businesses all across the country," Harris-Minor, CEO of Blocal Search, said.

Harris-Minor said she was constantly seeing the Black dollar recycle in front of her eyes. That’s why she said it was important for her to find an avenue that would allow the money to stay in local neighborhoods, especially in a moment in time where a demand to support Black businesses is on the rise.

“Because we all know that buying Black right now, it’s something that’s important. It may look more trendy or what have you, but I want to make sure I’m pushing it to be a lifestyle, so just kind of changing that focus and perspective, like why am I really buying Black?” she said.

Ajay Brewer, owner of Brewer’s Café on the city’s south side, added his business to Blocal Search this year.

“I’ve had several people tell me that they’ve found me through Blocal, so any sort of search engine that creates that sort of awareness for us is really priceless. It’s created revenue for Brewer’s Café for sure," Brewer said.

Harris-Minor said she has over 150 local businesses -- like restaurants, juice bars, beauty supplies, family dentistry, and more -- in the app.

The number is even higher nationwide. Blocal has promoted about 4,000 companies across 160 cities since the app launched in February.

“Blocal at minimum is going to be a directory, but this is going to be a brand that I’m building to really make sure that we’re able to have a sustainable community that we’ve had in the past and be able to create the generational wealth that we all are looking for our families,” she said.

Blocal Search is available to download on your phone by going to your App Store or on Google Play. You can also get more information here.

This story was originally published by Rob Desir at WTVR.