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Leaders Encouraging Black Business Development Now Before Museum Opens
12/4/2013 12:45:10 PM

Kwadjo Campbell

By Barney Blakeney

Last week former Charleston City Councilman Kwadjo Campbell weighed in on discussions about how the local Black community can take advantage of economic opportunities that will become available after the completion of the proposed International African American Museum.

As others previously have said, Campbell says Black entrepreneurs must begin now to position themselves for the opportunities that will come.

The Concord Street corridor where the museum will be located now enjoys a flow of visitors because of the South Carolina Aquarium and National Park Service Liberty Square, Campbell noted. Many properties along the corridor are vacant and could become sites for businesses, he suggests. Developing businesses along the corridor where people already go to spend money makes sense, Campbell said.

“There are a plethora of opportunities that exist for that area. We have to create partnerships with property owners in the area and develop marketing programs that connect businesses with the museum. Then we can use websites that tell visitors what’s there before they get here.”

Campbell joins Charleston City Councilman Perry K. Waring and Greater Charleston Empowerment Corporation Executive Director Anthony Moore in admonishing minority entrepreneurs to laser focus on business options that target the peninsula’s growing hotel and tourism industry.

They emphasize that Black business owners have a unique opportunity to capitalize on tourism built on the culture that was spawned by African Americans in Charleston.

“Attractions like the museum, in and of themselves, won’t produce anything for the Black business community,” Campbell said. “But they represent opportunities that already exist which can be expanded or developed. There is room for more than one or two African American owned tour businesses, restaurants and places that sell sweetgrass baskets and Black art.”

Campbell suggests that unless Black business people take control of the Afrocentric market that exists and continues to grow in Charleston, others will develop the apparatuses to capitalize on them.

“We need to be working now to identify what’s out there, how to bring it together and how we need to market it,” Campbell said.

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