During the pandemic, a record number of minority-owned small businesses took off. Many sold and promoted their services solely online.
Today, some local entrepreneurs want to expand their businesses and have a storefront. The Boise Towne Square has recently launched its Partner to Empower program. The program aims to get Black and minority-owned businesses into the shopping center.
“Boise is one of those areas where African Americans and other minority businesses are under-represented, so we wanted to make sure they were part of this program,” said Michelle Isabel, Vice President for Brookfield Properties.
The program has launched across the states through Brookfield Properties, planning to invest 25 million dollars through 2025. Providing business owners with funding, one-on-one guidance, and a tailored 4-week retail workshop.
“How amazing is it if someone here shopping sees a shop owner that looks like them, that has a similar background to them. It really just shows how inclusive we are as a community, and I think this is what this is going to highlight,” Boise Towne Square General Manager Jack Yejekwe said.
Boise Towne Square has accepted two black-owned business applications, Honey Holistic and Eat Like a Chef. Currently, early on in the process, but they plan to get them into the shopping centers by 2023.
Brookfield says it has 44 stores open or under construction across the country. Brookfield owns more than 140 retail centers across the US, including the Grand Teton Mall in Idaho Falls.
“To see a business owner and see how happy they are to be able to open up their long lost dream of opening up a shop somewhere. That’s what the goal was,” Yejekwe said.
Brookfield plans to continue the program and reopen applications in the near future.