Come noon today (June 19), www.cdcoshops.com opens as the online, buy-in portal for the first annual “Juneteenth Shop Black Virtual Experience.”

Cynthia Daniels & Co. is driving this one-day shopping extravaganza. At its corps, the virtual event will highlight and celebrate African-American vendors and entrepreneurs on the day millions of Americans commemorate Juneteenth and the end of slavery in the United States.

Cynthia Daniels (Courtesy photo)

“It is the perfect day to uplift and encourage black businesses. We also want people to make a conscientious decision to buy black,” said Daniels, the creative force behind events such as Memphis Black Restaurant Week, the Soulful Food Truck Festival, and Black Christmas Expo.

“Other communities support their own businesses and turn their buying dollars over many times before it leaves that community. Black people have billions of dollars worth of spending power. Let’s support our own, not just tomorrow, but every chance we get.”

That theme has a long history in this country, including multiple efforts over the years in Memphis to formerly organize African-American purchasing power. NewsOne reports that as of February 2020, there are nearly 50 million African Americans in the U.S. who collectively spend $1 trillion-plus per year. That level of spending is “on par with many countries’ gross domestic products,” according to Nielsen.

And while Memphis is poverty plagued, it is 65.5 percent African American, with Shelby County at 54 percent.

Mark Yates, president/CEO of the Black Business Association of Memphis, puts the purchasing power of African Americans in Memphis at a rounded-up $3 billion, using U.S. Census data, GDP and adjusting for population and the wealth-gap disparity.

With the energy associated with civil unrest and the shared concern about the pandemic’s disproportionate effect on African Americans, some assert that now is the time to reimagine the use of African-American purchasing power. That stream of thought conveys the optimism that it may be possible to reach the point of cooperative economics referred to during the annual celebration of Kwanzaa as the principle of ujamaa.

Daniels set out to recruit 50 businesses to be featured in the marketplace. One hundred businesses signed up to sell a wide variety of products and services .

News of the event has been viral for weeks, gaining the attention of business owners in 20 other cities and two countries (Vancouver and St. Croix).

“We’re looking forward to seeing our old customers and making friends with our new ones during the Juneteenth shopping,” said Andrea Johnson, local owner of Bubble Bistro, which sells body butters, signature bubble baths, soaps and hair and skin beauty products.

“We want everyone to come and make a virtual visit. Others are always welcome to celebrate Juneteenth with us.

Emily Moering of Scent Row. (Courtesy photo)

Emily Moering of Scent Row in Memphis offers scented candles, incense, bath and body products and fragrant oils.

“Scented products are favorites for women of all colors and cultures,” said Moering. “I hope to see ladies stocking up on what we offer and brothers buying gifts for the special women in their lives.”

The list of participating Greater-Memphis-area businesses include such popular sites as Phillip Ashley Chocolates, September Nail Salon, Henry Masks and Chef Tam’s Soul Food Superstore. Some of the out-of-town businesses are based in Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, New York and LA.

The “Juneteenth Shop Black Virtual Experience” runs through 8 p.m.

(For more information on the Juneteenth Shop Black Virtual Experience, visit www.cdcoshops.com. The New Tri-State Defender is offering a free, three-month subscription to its online home, TSDMemphis.com, to every person who registers for the  the event.)