(FOX 9) - With small businesses struggling to stay afloat nationwide, the pandemic is hitting Black-owned businesses especially hard. In our Voices for Change series, we are getting a look at how a local entrepreneur is showing support with hopes it pays off.
"We feature hot sauce, we feature cleaning products," said Jessica Winnie.
Winnie is a mother of six, an educator, a self-published poet, and now an entrepreneur.
"I came up with MN Black Box because I wanted to find a way to introduce local Minnesotans to Minnesota Black-owned businesses."
Launching this past spring inside her Minnetonka home, with the help of her daughter, Winnie is creating custom boxes that feature products from more than 50 Minnesota-based, Black-owned businesses.
"Black economics drives us," she said. "When I say us, we are a collective."
She purchases and then sells everything from books to jewelry.
"Just getting people aware of products that you might find at a Target or at a Walmart but that you should shift your spending and support small Black businesses."
In a pandemic economy, many small Black-owned businesses have been hit the hardest.
"We think it’s important to build a community to use each other as resources and network," said Winnie.
The goal is for people to "try it, like it, and purchase again and re-support so that these businesses can grow," Winnie explained.
"We have shipped to 11 other states," she added. "We do our own deliveries and so I have driven to some places in Minnesota that I haven’t been before, like Rosemount. We shipped to Sartell, Minnesota a few days ago."
Winnie only hopes to expand her reach. "We want to be able to use MN Black Box as not only consumer and products but also as a space to grow and heal together."
Winnie's boxes range from $35 to $75. She says that she hopes to open up a shop of her own one day. You can find her MN Black Box website by clicking here.