LI Boutique and Art Gallery offers Black entrepreneurs place to sell their merchandise
A Long Island entrepreneur is celebrating Black History Month with the grand opening of a new business venture.
Owner Philana Aiken created LI Boutique and Art Gallery to bring Black entrepreneurs under one roof to sell their merchandise.
"This is a Black-owned business with nothing but Black-owned vendors, you know, inside of the store," Aiken says. "I chose to do it that way to pretty much give my people a chance to learn how to work together, stick together, work with one another and grow."
Her inspiration for LI Boutique and Art Gallery came from her late mother, the Rev. Veronica Williams.
Rev. Williams dedicated her life to uplifting the lives of children with after-school programs and tutoring.
"She did a lot of great things for the community and since she's been gone, I haven't really seen it like that anywhere," Aiken says.
Aiken says she's doing what she can to strengthen the community by creating a space where young entrepreneurs can thrive.
The store carries clothing lines from Black-owned clothing designers and the walls feature colorful artwork created by Black artists from across the country.
XBlendz Owner Jamal Lynch says he think he will benefit in a big way by being part of the business.
"Just more brand awareness and also just more credibility and more value to my business," Lynch says.
LI Boutique and Art Gallery also has a backroom for networking events and workshops.
Aiken says the entire shop sends a clear message to the community.
"That we can work together, we can come together and stick together and grow through business," Aiken says.