CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – It started with a small request, one thousand followers, and a few black-owned businesses.
“It was an idea that we thought would be a resource to the community and a resource for us,” said Ashley Creft.
But what starts small, doesn’t always stay that way.
“We had more than 1,000 followers in 48 hours and it was like, this is real,” said Madeline Holly-Carothers.
Thirty-six thousand Instagram followers later, Madeline and Ashley are busy working full time all while running “Charlotte Black Owned.”
It began as an Instagram page meant for highlighting black and brown business owners all over the Queen City.
‘The Original Hot Dog Factory,’ located in the University City area, was just featured on the page.
“You can’t pay for that- that’s advertising that’s just tremendous,” said Michael Hailey.
Michael and his family opened up the restaurant a few months ago. It’s the first time he’s been in the restaurant business.
“It’s crazy because you wonder, every time you walk in in the morning, is anyone going to show up today? In the back of your head of course,” said Michael.
But people have been showing up, and even more so, once they made it on the Instagram page.
“A lot of times, especially with a black-owned business, you’re kind of pushed own, you’re always looking at the bigger businesses, bigger restaurants,” said Michael. “I’m sure it’s helping the other black businesses, black restaurants to be featured as well.”
But that’s not all.
Madeline, Ashley, and their team are creating another event that will highlight black and brown businesses, including Tia Gregg.
“It gives me another reach I would not have typically have,” said Tia, who owns Sunshine Event Designs.
She’s one of several vendors who will be part of their upcoming ‘Jumping the Broom’ Bridal Expo in Charlotte on July 24th. The two said they want to showcase vendors from all over and give people a chance to meet the business owners.
It’s a passion project for them, but it’s also personal.
“Also being African American women, the cause for supporting black-owned business owners is not just personal to us, it’s our own story as well,” said Madeline.
Tickets are still available at the bridal expo.