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Rachael Parkercolor_1Rachael Parker wears a number of hats. She is the Economic Development Director for the City of Chillicothe, an elected official (Peoria County Board Member Representing District 5), the owner of Sweet Cakes by Rachael, Co-Owner of Riley’s Cupcake and Coffee Lounge located on Main Street – Downtown Peoria and a grandmother of three.

After thinking about how she could help turn Peoria’s reputation around for being one of the worst places for African Americans to have a business, she came up with this Black Friday Concept. “Everyone knows Black Friday is associated with shopping,” said Rachel. Her idea is that on Friday’s everyone makes a conscious effort to patronize a black owned business. “Most people don’t think about running to the mall or running into a Superstore to pick up whatever it is they need, they just do because they are familiar with the stores or they have seen their advertisements or they go just out of habit. Most black owned businesses don’t have the big advertising dollars to get the word out via TV ads or nice large signage that show where they are located or that they even exist,” stated Rachel. That is why she is asking everyone to do their part to help change Peoria’s perception. She is asking everyone to make it a point to find one, two, three or more minority owned companies to shop at EVERY FRIDAY! “Even if you just spend a dollar or two, you could be keeping someone’s doors open,” she said.

The new Minority Business Development Center is in the process of putting together the online minority business directory. If you are a minority business owner and want to be a part of the directory please contact Denise Moore, the Executive Director of the Minority Business Development Center, 2139 SW Adams Street. Other sources in the community providing information on Black Businesses are The Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce and The Traveler Weekly.

“If you live in a small community that does not have any black or minority owned companies just patronize a small business. Those mom and pop shops need your support. With that I am going to thank everyone in advance for making a conscious effort to start on this Friday coming up to shop at a black owned business and do your part to make a difference, be a change agent and help keep a number of our black owned businesses in business. We can’t survive without YOU!” she stated.