A Conversation with Candy Lowe
What inspired the Black Business Bus Tour?
The Black Business Bus Tour was inspired by the frustration that I felt as I walked through my community and saw that there were few, if any, businesses that were open from one year to the next. Realizing this to be a major concern and the need to bring awareness to the many small Black owned businesses that were either unknown or had been forced to close due to little or no community traffic, I was determined to find out why and to do something about it. The best solution was to somehow bring people to those businesses and thus began my journey over 15 years ago, which continues today.
What can people expect to learn on the tour?
The Black Business Bus Tour is open to everyone and everyone is welcome to ride and shop. Each coach bus is always full of riders from various cities and states who experience opportunities for networking as well as having the opportunity to see Tampa Bay and its many beautiful sights!
What do you want tourists to do as a result of taking the tour?
As a result of attending the Black Business Bus Tour, we hope the riders will remember the different businesses, the fun and come back again to shop at the businesses they visited and share the meaning of the Black Business Bus Tour. Many riders make new friends and remain in touch.
How has the Bus Tour grown since its inception?
The Black Business Bus Tour has grown from year to year in many ways. Always making each Bus Tour as memorable and unique, we strive to present new and different types of businesses. The Black Business Bus Tour has visited restaurants, party planning stores, salons, and health and wellness businesses to name a few. The Black Business Bus Tour has seen growth from just one bus full of riders to an event that is highly anticipated every year and encompasses up to five full buses at least several times a year. Each one held to celebrate not only the businesses, but also the community!
What new activities do you have planned for the bus tour?
There are many opportunities and projects planned for the Black Business Bus Tour during the next few years. The Black Business Bus Tour Florida has a theme that resonates with many. Basically, the group rolls out from a very synchronized location in the community where there are vendors and food setup. The coach buses are rolled into place and soon passengers begin to board, and at exactly 9 a.m. the buses begin to roll out to their various destinations. No one knows where they may start, but that makes it all-the-more exciting!
It is imperative that we continue to showcase and recognize new businesses as the information becomes available to us. We also continue to support the older businesses ensuring that they remain open and thriving. The Black Business Bus Tour will be traveling to major cities across the country! It is a movement of celebration as well as economic empowerment! Tampa may be leading the country in supporting small Black-owned businesses!
Why is it important to support Black-owned businesses?
Continuing to support Black owned Businesses is important on many levels. Mostly, to bring economic empowerment to Black businesses that could not seem to find the revenue to remain in business for any real length of time and having community support. Fighting to bring awareness to businesses and communities and keep the Black dollar within the black community. The Black Business Bus Tour Florida continues to roll even during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a woman in business, early on I grasped the significance of the power of the Black dollar to keep families together and communities strong. The Black Business Bus Tour provides opportunities for small Black businesses and community members to come together. This is my focus. My motto is “Making it happen together!”