The Real Black Friday was a hit

James W. Wade III | 8/27/2014, 9:01 a.m.
The weekend that included a walk and photo sessions gave everyone a chance to meet new Black business people in ...
The Real Black Friday Founder LaRese Purnell with Warrensville Heights Mayor Brad Sellers and Motivational Speaker Basheer Jones at the Warrensville Heights Festival during the Black Friday weekend

LaRese B. Purnell, MBA, in conjunction with So Curly So Kinky So Straight, BlackInCleveland.com and NuLife Fitness Camp presented “The Real Black Friday,” a day for residents of the City of Cleveland and Northeastern Ohio to support and patronize black-owned businesses.

Growing up in Cleveland, I have always asked why we never had our own Black area like Little Italy or Jewish area like other ethnic groups. My father always shared with me how important it was and is to support Black businesses.

This inaugural Real Black Friday event was outstanding and provided insight to many about spending in the Black community. This weekend gave Cleveland a positive blend about doing business around the greater Cleveland area.

“Mr. Purnell is right, true wealth creation starts at home. It is essential that African-American businesses spend money with one another and it is equally important that these businesses provide quality goods and services at a competitive price for this to be successful,” said City of Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson.

The Call & Post Newspaper served as one of the many stops on tour. Through therealblackfriday.com and other social media outlets such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, (@laresepurnell or @therealblackfriday) the event businesses were highlighted and listed for consumers to review.

At the Call and Post, shoppers learned little known history facts about the paper then showed their generous support by signing up for subscriptions and buying advertisements. Charles Bibb, founder and CEO Bibb Enterprise, even shared his story of delivering the paper as a young boy attending Rawlings Jr. High School.

Fowler Fashions, celebrating 25 years in business, was also involved and was pleased with the turnout.

“The Real Black weekend was a great experience for Fashions by Fowler. We were able to meet a lot of new customers and it was great seeing everyone gaining knowledge about shopping at various Black owned stores. I am glad my store was a destination and I can’t wait until next year when he does it again,” said Renee Fowler.

Throughout the weekend, shoppers supported businesses sponsoring the movement such as Cleveland Clinic, NuLife Fitness, McDonald’s, Angie’s Soul Food, Fashion by Fowler, Mr. Albert’s, BlackinCleveland, “THE WORD” Church, B&M Barbeque, Calhoun’s Funeral Services, Bedford Nissan, Radio One, TV20, Call and Post and many more.

“When I was a little girl, my father taught us simple lessons: get a job, pay your bills and save some money. He always knew that, if you did those three things, that life would somehow work in your favor. When I think about the recent Real Black Friday events that were held in Cleveland, my father comes to mind. The concept is so simple. It’s hard to believe that no one thought about it sooner. It took the vision of LaRese Purnell to connect the dots between the spending and buying power within the Black community,” said Yvonne Pointer.

The mixture of young and old participated and pointed out how fulfilling their experience was. “I enjoyed The Real Black Friday weekend because it inspired me to want to spend my money with the Black community business owners,” said Basheer Jones.