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Meet Candice Dukes of The Black Business Market

Today we’d like to introduce you to Candice Dukes.  

Hi Candice, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I have lived in Warren, Ohio most of my life. I lived in Cleveland for some years. But I came back to the area in winter of 2018. Growing up in Warren Ohio had a huge impact on my journey to become a business owner. Growing up in business has shaped my career and mind in many ways. I was raised in my family’s business RBG Complex, presently known as RBG Eatery. We have been in business for almost 50 years. So, with that being said, business has always been in me. My late grandfather James “Doc’ Pugh had the vision, along with the help and support of his wife, Patricia Pugh to create something for the community. They together built the business literally from the ground up, the vision started with a small house and turned into a complex with multiple businesses. My grandfather being an activist, president of the NAACP, city councilman and so much more over the years, really showed me you can create the life you want. I had the privilege of witnessing him on the front lines and behind the scenes work tirelessly to build his legacy. 

So, my childhood honestly ignited my fire for entrepreneurship. As a child, I didn’t realize how impactful and vital my upbringing would be to my adulthood and career. I simply thought that I had experienced a somewhat “normal” life. But as an adult, I am forever appreciative of the trailblazing that my grandparents and family did for us. I strive to do much of the same of what I saw as a child. 

So, 2020 came, COVID hit, and that is really what ignited the goals that I had created but tucked away for many years. But a light switch went off and I felt impelled to live out the life that I actually desired; much like my grandfather. Not only did my upbringing prepare me but for entrepreneurship but my career in retail management for over a decade and more recently my banking career helped tremendously. So right around the time of the tragic loss of George Floyd, we felt empowered and wanted to give back to the black community. That is when the Black Business Market was birthed, June of 2020, was our very first market featuring over 50 businesses from the local and surrounding area, we featured various businesses, everything from cosmetics lines, candles, haircare, service-based businesses, art, greeting cards, custom clothing, handmade jewelry and more. Giving black-owned businesses the exposure, they deserve is just one way that we bring positivity to the community. Our goal is to provide a platform for black businesses in the NE Ohio and surrounding areas. It gives entrepreneurs a chance to showcase their, products goods, and services to the community, as well as networking amongst each other. In a society where the racial climate is toxic and disheartening at times, we chose to bring somewhat of a light through our community work. We are working tirelessly to create more resources and tools that will be useful for small businesses of all kinds. 

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
I can’t say that it has been a smooth road, but what we have learned is that consistency is key. It is rewarding to witness the impact that we have made in our community and for our featured vendors giving them a chance to gain exposure and sales for their business. Anyone in business understands that it is constant work and in this small town the biggest hurdle is gaining exposure. We have been blessed enough to have access to not only businesses in Warren, but we have had businesses join us from Cleveland, Pennsylvania, Columbus, and more. Since we have begun there has been somewhat of a trend with vendor shows. However, we are always thinking outside of the box and will soon be adding features that will set us apart even more and benefit local entrepreneurs. The mission and goal of the BBM is “To provide the ultimate black shopping experience”. One of the biggest lessons that we have learned in business is that you must evolve to stay afloat. Finding your rhythm and balance in business, and learning exactly who your audience is and what problem you are solving have been a few of the biggest lessons for us. 

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
The Black Business Market is a platform created to showcase black business owners in the NE Ohio and surrounding areas. By providing this platform we bring positivity to the community and bring light to many businesses that may not otherwise have the exposure they deserve. We set up large vendor events in our community for business owners to come showcase, their products, goods, and services. Think of it as a community market but we house black businesses of all kinds. We provide the ultimate black shopping experience for our community. We specialize in bringing the community together to support local business owners. We are known for our consistency and the variety of businesses that we bring with our markets, service-based businesses, skin and hair care businesses, fashion retailers, insurance providers, artwork, authors, and so much more. What sets us apart is our heart for the community, in these crazy times it is vital to see success in your own community, we love to connect with the patrons as well as support businesses in their efforts towards success, A lot of times minority business owners don’t have the resources and means to succeed. So, we love to give back and help with giving businesses the opportunity to generate revenue for their business. What we are most proud of is our consistency and that we have set out to make a difference and we are doing just that. We strive to provide a professional and enjoyable experience for both our vendors and patrons, we have grown and soon will be offering more services that will benefit local business owners aside from just our markets. Many new business owners start with a dream and idea, we want to help with the vision and execution of that. T stay in the knew for what’s happening for The Black Business Market you can subscribe to our website We will be having our Juneteenth Celebration Sunday, June 19th, 1-5 takes place in Warren, Ohio at RBG Eatery, 

Do you have recommendations for books, apps, blogs, etc.?
I love to stay motivated, and in business to succeed mindset is everything. There are many podcasts and books that have helped shape my mind and give resourceful information. 

David Shands “Social Proof Podcast” 

Audria Richmond Marketing & Brand Strategist “UNcloned” 

Mahdi Woodard “Content That Converts” 

Many books by Jen Sincero 

April Mason Feminine Lifestyle Strategist 

Jay Shetty Podcast 

In addition, there are so many free resources that can help shape your mind and business. I try to take in as much information as possible to aid in my personal and professional success. 

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Tae Stubbs

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