The connections between businesses and the community are strong and the impact ripples beyond the transactions that transpire. Intentional purchasing supports local and cultural businesses and this is not new for communities of color.

Local POC-owned businesses provide culturally relevant products and services, and for many a sense of normalcy. Dollars spent in those establishments are more likely to be paid forward to another local POC-owned business or establishment. The multiplier effect of intentional purchasing is profound, creating wealth and jobs in often underserved or marginalized communities.

For some, shopping at the corner store is about language accessibility, transportation, or relational. I grew up in a traditional Mexican household, where we shopped at a mercado, bodega, or street vendor because we were familiar with that community. Although it was not an intentional effort to maximize a “multiplier effect”, my family felt good supporting our Latinx neighbors.

The impact of community wealth building initiatives is not lost on city and state agencies. Tory Campbell, a business owner, member of the Black community, and Director of Economic Development at Prosper Portland is one of the masterminds behind several initiatives that aim to elevate entrepreneurs of color including, My People’s Market and Mercatus. He explains, “Prosper Portland is creating visibility so businesses can shine, and partnering with the right organizations to increase access to new markets.”

Tory believes the city is starting to feel alive because of these initiatives, “the outgrowth of Mercatus is increasing visibility and engagement of entrepreneurs of color from a variety of places. I see my community using the directory to connect with other black-owned businesses and it fills my heart.”

Mercatus makes it easy to support locally operated businesses by POC in Portland through its online directory, currently listing over 450+ businesses. It’s also not alone in its efforts, directories like iloveblackfood and Shop Latinx (currently in the works of expanding to a new marketplace) are two other ones meant to support specifically Black and Latinx entrepreneurs. Together, these directories are helping to create the important visibility entrepreneurs need by providing a one-stop-space to find and support POC-owned businesses.

Do you actively support your community by shopping at local POC-owned businesses? Do you use any of these directories to find local businesses in efforts to support and invest in the community? If so, not only are you supporting POC-owned businesses but you’re also contributing the wealth of your community and that is powerful! Don’t know where to start looking? Here are a few businesses, straight from the Mercatus Directory, that offer products and services for everyday essentials. Check them out below.

Make sure to share your initiatives with the Mercatus online community by sharing your favorite businesses, sharing your story, tagging Mercatus, and using the hashtags #pocwealthbuilding, #buyblack, and #shoplatinx.