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New Tampa Bay Challenge Promotes Black-Owned Businesses

TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - A new challenge that promotes black-owned businesses is becoming popular in the Tampa Bay Area.

The Tampa Bay Black Excellence Challenge started at the beginning of February and encourages people to visit black-owned businesses through the classic game, bingo!

On the bingo card, each square tells people to go and visit a local black owned business.

"For anyone to highlight us or come to us for service is a big deal because we don't get the everyday business like some of the big places that are able to have multiple places," said Shalon Barnett, owner of the North Tampa Pharmacy.

The North Tampa Pharmacy is known for its personalized service and Barnett says the new challenge is making a difference for her business.

"It definitely brings up the numbers of people coming into your business," said Barnett.

The new challenge, started by Kiva Williams and Karimah Henry, is a bingo game that encourages people to visit black owned businesses in the Tampa Bay Area...and if you complete the card, you can win prizes.

"I saw other cities hosting black history month challenges…more like a scavenger hunt, so I reached out to Kiva, she makes things happen. I said 'Do you want to do something similar, but bingo style?" said Henry.

Now the game is growing.

"Getting together and doing it on a much higher level," said Williams.

"People are used to seeing places to eat but not necessarily a gym or a convenience store so we wanted to show that there's a variety of black owned businesses in the Tampa Bay Area," said Henry.

Another business getting a lot of attention from the challenge is Eggs Up Grill in Riverview. Priscilla and John Conyers own Eggs Up Grill and say they've seen more people come into their restaurant this month.

"People banning together, coming together to celebrate such a beautiful cause, not only for the month of February, but just year, round, 365, so I would say we have definitely seen a major impact," said Priscilla Conyers.

Owners of both businesses say they hope the challenge inspires others.

"That gives someone else that hope that if they want to start anything, anything is possible," said Barnett.

"It shows other little kids that are our same color that when they grow up, they can do anything they want. Doesn't matter about where you came from or any of that," said John Conyers.

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