As black travelers explore more and more of the country, there has been a desire to help visitors interact with more black-owned companies in the different places they visit. For Candy Lowe, the opportunity presented a chance to show off her side of Florida to visitors and that included black establishments that are thriving within the local community.
Lowe founded the Black Business Bus Tour company in her home state of Florida in 2006. The mission of the company is to bring economic empowerment to local black-owned businesses in several cities including Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, Sarasota, and more. These are businesses that would normally have little or no marketing budgets, which means they don’t get much exposure to potential customers outside of their local community. The tour goes out two to three times a year.
“Economic empowerment is a must for any business to sustain itself, and more black dollars need to remain in local black communities as long as possible if we are to remove the poverty stigma,” comments Lowe. The idea of her business started with one question: Why are so many black-owned businesses in and out of business within a year or two? Lowe found the answer came through a vision to counter the notion of a failing black-owned business with her bus tours. Some of these businesses include the African Extravaganza, a store specializing in African attire and items, and the Paschall Blanc Art Studio & Gallery for classes.
Because of her success, many of the businesses on her tour see a sharp increase in patrons visiting and buying from their shop. Her dedication has brought revenue to many businesses and kept many open with new customers.