CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – It started with a small demand, a thousand subscribers and a few black-owned businesses.
“It was an idea that we thought was a resource for the community and a resource for us,” said Ashley Craft.
But what starts out small doesn’t always stay that way.
“We had over 1,000 followers in 48 hours and it felt like it was real,” said Madeline Holly-Carothers.
Thirty-six thousand Instagram followers later, Madeline and Ashley are busy working full time while running “Charlotte Black Owned.”
It started as an Instagram page meant to highlight black and brown business owners across Queen’s Town.
“The Original Hot Dog Factory,” located in the University City area, just featured on the page.
“You can’t pay for it – it’s advertising which is just great,” said Michael Hailey.
Michael and his family opened the restaurant a few months ago. It is the first time that he has worked in the restaurant business.
“It’s crazy because you ask yourself, every time you walk in in the morning, is someone going to show up today?” In the back of your head of course, ”said Michael.
But people showed up, and more, once they did on the Instagram page.
“A lot of times, especially with a black-owned business, you’re kind of pushed on your own, you’re still looking at the bigger companies, the bigger restaurants,” Michael said. “I’m sure it helps other black businesses, black restaurants get featured as well.”
But that’s not all.
Madeline, Ashley and their team are creating another event that will spotlight black and brunette businesses, including Tia Gregg.
“It gives me another reach that I wouldn’t normally have,” said Tia, owner of Sunshine Event Designs.
She is one of many vendors who will be attending their next “Jumping the Broom” bridal show in Charlotte on July 24th.e. Both said they wanted to introduce salespeople from all over and give people the chance to meet business owners.
It’s a passionate project for them, but it’s also personal.
“Being African-American women as well, the cause of supporting black-owned business owners is not just personal to us, it’s our own story, too,” Madeline said.
Tickets are still available at the bridal show.