St. Paul market unifies community by promoting minority-owned businesses

It’s never been more important to support local businesses. As many try to do that and navigate their way through a pandemic, we’re also experiencing a racial justice movement.

A St. Paul brewery is using its resources to address all of that.

Using inspiration from the Black is Beautiful Beer initiative — a nationwide campaign where breweries are brewing a certain beer and donating the funds to help victims of police brutality — the Black is Beautiful Outdoor Market was organized.

It was specifically catered to people of color to sell their goods and services, opened to the public for everyone to connect with and support their community.

“It hurts my heart with what is happening,” Janet Johanson, CEO of The Lab Brewery in St. Paul and BevSource, said about the social unrest and systemic racism in our community.

“This is us doing more,” Johanson added. “Let’s bring economic awareness to our Black entrepreneurs and Indigenous people and people of color and really support them.”

The outdoor market was hosted under the big red canopy in The Lab’s parking lot and had more than 40 vendors, food trucks, music, and most importantly, an opportunity to unify.

Joclyn Beard, of Jay Jay’s Jams & Such, was a vendor and says this event is unique and was and needed.

“I was really excited to see it — mostly because getting into these types of events in a regular year is cost prohibitive, and the organizers made it so it wasn’t.”

The event was free to be part of and organizers hope to continue it in the future.