Entrepreneurs showcase their talents at 'Oneness in Blackness' expo

Monday, February 27, 2012
Betty Mosley sews final stitches on one of her prayer pillows Saturday during the Oneness in Blackness Business and Entrepreneur Expo at the Salvation Army in Cape Girardeau. (Laura Simon)

Betty Mosley loved to buy hats. They got so expensive, though, she started making them herself. Now, she has her own business making and selling them to others.

Mosley was one of about 15 local small business owners who took part in the "Oneness in Blackness" Business & Entrepreneur Expo at the Salvation Army in Cape Girardeau.

Andrew Bell, Jr. shows one of the jackets available from his Sikeston, Mo. store, Drew Styles Men's Apparel Saturday, February 25, 2012 during the Oneness in Blackness Business and Entrepreneur Expo at the Salvation Army in Cape Girardeau. Bell's clothing store caters to big and tall men. (Laura Simon)

"Some of us are very creative. We want to show that we are doing something besides gang banging and tugging and all that. We do have some want-to-be entrepreneurs also," Mosley said.

Black business owners said the event gave them an opportunity to celebrate their success and share the services they offer with the community. There was no charge for businesses to participate or the public to attend.

Barber shops, a shoe store, sweet confections and even custom-made bow ties, were found among the booths.

Husband and wife team Rodney and Tajuana Bird showcased their event planning business, Purpose by Design, at the expo.

The couple, which used to work at Whitfields in Cape Girardeau, had been helping their friends plan and decorate for special events and weddings for years. When Rodney Bird lost his job in 2009, the couple decided to turn their hobby into a business that has since expanded to also include graphic design, custom stationary, interior design and décor.

Linette McCoy of True Kuts Barbershop trims up Rodney Bird's beard Saturday, February 25, 2012 during the Oneness in Blackness Business and Entrepreneur Expo at the Salvation Army in Cape Girardeau. (Laura Simon)

Tajuana Bird said she felt empowered to see the creativity of other businesses at the expo.

"We thought it was a phenomenal idea to interact with and discover other black owned and operated businesses in the area that we were not aware of, but then from there to be provided a platform where you're able to advertise your business at no cost, that's amazing," she said.

Kendrick Morris, a chiropractor with locations in Jackson and Sikeston, Mo., said he hopes to serve as a role model.

"It's letting people know we have black professionals in this area." Morris said about the expo. "It's important to let our children and our community know we have people doing things of that nature."

Event organizer NaTika Rowles, a business owner herself, plans to put together a black business directory following the event. Rowles operates Gift of Dance Studio in Cape Girardeau.

Phyllis Adams speaks with a customer at her More Than Enough Sweets booth Saturday, February 25, 2012 during the Oneness in Blackness Business and Entrepreneur Expo at the Salvation Army in Cape Girardeau. Adams had white, red velvet and lemon cake pops among other homemade treats for sale during the expo. (Laura Simon)

She also hopes the event may spur the development of an organization to support black businesses in the Cape Girardeau area.

"We want people who are just starting off and people who have been in the industry for quite some time to come together so we can feed off each other and gain knowledge about running our own businesses," Rowles said.

mmiller@semissourian.com

388-3646

Pertinent address:

701 Good Hope Street, Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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