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Local business owners urge customers to shop at Black-owned businesses this Juneteenth

With more attention to the Juneteenth historic holiday, many businesses are hoping to profit from the celebrations.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark — Juneteenth is the newest federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983. President Joe Biden signed legislation Thursday, establishing the holiday as commemorating the end of slavery.

Some feel that with the new exposure though, can come new exploitation. 

Companies are now selling products catered to the holiday to cash in on the supply and demand, just like any other holiday.

Black-owned businesses, especially smaller ones who have been supplying Juneteenth goods, want to remind people that shopping Black is directly supporting the true celebrations of the holiday.

"Big companies such Target and Walmart, stores of that nature, they have their business built to where they want to be already. As a Black business owner, I just feel like it's important for us, for people to shop with us so we can get to the level where we need to be," Lacora Shepard said. 

Shepard is the CEO of The Bling Junkie, LLC selling rhinestone, vinyl, and glitter attire, cups & accessories. 

She's selling her own version of Juneteenth designs for local events. 

"A lot of times we get looked over. People may see a similar item in Target or  Walmart that's $10 of $15 cheaper. That's because they're getting it from someone else. As a business owner, we're putting in the labor to make these products special," Shepard said.

Related: The history of Juneteenth: Why we celebrate freedom in Arkansas

Terra Robinson helps her mother with her small business, Bree'a Decor.

They create customized hand-crafted tumblers, glasses, canvas art, and t-shirts. They two will be selling custom Juneteenth tumblers for the Juneteenth Arkansas event this weekend. 

Robinson said that this is the first time they're having the business participate in a Juneteenth event.

"I feel like we need representation. Especially for the younger generation. My niece is 8 years old and she didn't know what Juneteenth was. My mom had her help make the products," Robinson said.

Related: Where to find Juneteenth events around central Arkansas

Shalonda Mayon is the owner of Hustlebabe Clothing

She participated in creating clothing designs for Juneteenth last year. 

"We had a tough summer. With all the racial tension and everything going on, I thought it was important for our community to know where we came from to get where we need to go," Mayon said. 

For her, it's deeper than just business. 

Having support for Black-owned businesses is just the start of true freedom within the community. 

"We still have people that don't vote, we still have people that are not really truly living free," Mayon said.