The Philadelphia Chapter of the National Alliance of Marketing Developers will host the 11th annual “Buy Black” holiday shopping expo; with a focus on conscious consumerism, job creation and business development.
The expo will be held December 8 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the First District Plaza, 3801 Market Street.
“This year what we’re really focusing on conscious consumerism — how can people be more aware as they consume products of the company that they are supporting,” said Norm Bond, national chairman of NAMD.
Bond said African-American consumers should be questioning whether they see the companies they support in their communities, and do they see them promoting their messages in media that is important to consumers.
The upcoming expo features more nearly 50 vendors with products that range from African imports and clothing to custom made jewelry and financial services. This year’s event has attracted vendors from the Philadelphia region, New York and Washington, D.C.
Shoppers will be able to view a fashion show featuring clothing from Ebony Suns Enterprises and hear performances by artists.
An event highlight includes a 1 p.m. panel discussion titled “Buy Black: Why It Still Matters.” The panel will feature Harold Epps, president and CEO of PRWT Services, Inc.; Tracy Davis of Omega Optical and Attorney Michael Coard. More panelists may be included.
The panel discussion will highlight the importance of building wealth in the African-American community and information from the report “African American Consumers: Still Vital, Still Growing” released by Nielsen and the National Newspaper Publishers Association. The collective buying power of African Americans is projected to reach $1.1 trillion by 2015, according to the report.
Target Market News notes that Black consumers in the Philadelphia metropolitan area spend in excess of $15 billion per year. However, Bond says, the vast majority of these dollars are spent with non-Black owned businesses.
“A lot of that is unconscious consumerism. Our effort with this event is to bring some information so that consumers become more conscious,” said Bond.
The National Retail Federation anticipates that $586.1 billion will be spent during the holiday season – a time when many major retailers compete for consumer dollars. These dollars typically don’t flow to the coffers to small Black vendors.
By exposing more consumers to Black-owned businesses, NAMD hopes to impact their ability expand and create jobs at a time when African-American community has the highest unemployment numbers of any ethnic group in the country.
“We feel that by supporting the types of businesses that we have vending at the event and helping these businesses grow their revenue, helping them attract new customers (and) market share, these businesses will be in better position to hire and create jobs as they grow,” Bond said.
Bond hopes the expo will encourage consumers to support Black-owned businesses all year round, instead on just one occasion.
In addition to featuring African-American vendors, the expo will also organizations such as the African American Chamber of Commerce and feature businesses that support supplier diversity efforts or advertise in ethnic media.
Some of the event sponsors include Omega Optical, PK Financial Services and PRWT Services.
“As the largest African-American owned business in the region, we believe that it is our responsibility to reinforce the importance of supporting African American and other minority businesses. Our support makes good business sense and helps to create jobs,” Harold Epps, CEO of PRWT said in a press release.
Founded in 1952, the NAMD is a nonprofit association of marketing professionals, entrepreneurs and students educated to educate, inform and network around all aspects of the Black community.