MANSFIELD -- The North End Community Improvement Collaborative (NECIC) is inviting the public to its BBQ & Black Business Expo on Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. at 311 Bowman St.
The event will feature music, food trucks, spades and Uno tournaments and pop-up shops from local Black-owned businesses.
There will also be information for aspiring food entrepreneurs.
Nine vendors had registered for the event as of Monday afternoon, according to Cheyla Bradley. Vendors have until the end of the day Wednesday to register.
The event is hosted by NECIC's African American Leadership Initiative (AALI). The group provides a safe space for African American business owners to get together, network and build each other up.
"It's bigger than you think," Bradley said of Mansfield's Black business community. "I think a lot of people are not really aware that there's a lot of black businesses."
One of the event vendors will be Flippin Good Seasoning. CEO Rhonda Sylvester founded the business to sell her proprietary seasoning blend.
“It’s a unique blend of granulated seasonings that is sure to enhance any ready-to-eat food anytime," she said. "It ain’t good until it's Flippin Good.”
Sylvester received her culinary degree from the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts in 2018. She worked off-and-on in the food service industry for twenty years before deciding to strike out on her own.
“I really, really got tired of punching other people’s clock," she said. "I just figured, I have too many hustles and too many business aspects to be on someone else's clock making them millions when i could make my own millions. At least I could give it a try.”
After Flippin Good moved to Mansfield, AALI helped get the business a table, chair and tent so the business could participate in events.
“They did me right when I went in there. They've been very very helpful for me," Sylvester said.
Flippin Good's proprietary blend removes the guesswork from seasoning and can be used before, during or after food is prepared.
The Flippin Good chef owner said its important for small businesses to have events where they can interact with the public.
“A lot of people don’t know who we are or what we do. You might see it on Facebook or in the newspaper, but to have that experience is a must do," she said.
Visitors will also have a chance to visit the hoop houses and get a mini tour of the NECIC Urban Microfarm, 311 Bowman St.
"With our AALI initiative, we definitely want to make it theme-related and express the power of the local dollar, supporting businesses around here and make sure people are aware of them," Bradley said.
AALI has monthly networking socials and a speaker's luncheon series, though the latter is currently on pause due to COVID-19.