Sowing Prosperity: Local Pop-Up Market Continues To Give Other Black-Owned Businesses A Place To Grow

When Prosperity Market held a month-long scavenger hunt to celebrate Black Business Month, the Los Angeles-based organization was providing far more than just a little ‘fun-in-the-sun’.

For founders Carmen Dianne and Kara Still the goal was, as it always is, to raise awareness around Black-owned businesses and increase access to healthy, locally produced food for community members.

Launched during the first months of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Prosperity Market was created to connect the community with Black farmers, chefs and other food-related business owners from across Los Angeles.

In the two years since then, the traveling marketplace has blended a unique mix of farmer’s market, food truck festival, and business incubator to become one of the more impactful brands in the city.

A testament to the founder’s innovation and creativity, the annual scavenger hunt has quickly become one of the most anticipated events offered by Prosperity Market and its partners.

“A big driving force behind Prosperity Market is creating economic impact in our communities, which we do through food and agriculture,” said Dianne. “The scavenger hunt gives us an opportunity to expand our mission and include businesses from all different sectors.”

Throughout the month of August, clues posted on the Prosperity Market website linked players to 57 local Black-owned businesses – giving participants the chance to win prizes while also becoming more familiar with the products and services each business offers. 

This year’s event wrapped up with a signature ‘pop-up market’ at the Obama Sports Complex in Baldwin Hills, where participants came together to celebrate community with photo booths, prizes, a live DJ, and an endless assortment of games.

“We also gave out Prosperity Bucks to scavenger hunt participants and market goers,” Still said. “Prosperity Bucks are essentially free money that participants could use to spend at the market courtesy of Council District 10 (CD10), who partnered with us to host our scavenger hunt finale pop-up market.”

Beyond a quick boost to the bottom line, the scavenger hunt provided valuable exposure for 40 vendors looking to introduce their products to shoppers.

“We often have a product that people want, but don’t know exists in the community,” summarized Janelle Brooks-Petty, owner of All Chill, a hip hop ice cream shop based in Leimert Park. “It is really an awesome way for people to learn about businesses in our community, support people who live in the community, and are working and building their businesses.”

For emerging Black entrepreneurs like Petty, that exposure can mean the difference between business success and failure. One of the fastest growing segments before the pandemic, many Black-owned businesses have struggled to stay profitable since, with a 41% drop in active Black-owned businesses in 2020, according to a recent Forbes article.

Helping to raise awareness and drive foot traffic to the participating businesses, this year’s scavenger hunt drummed up loads of attention from media outlets.

This year’s event resulted in more than 40 press placements, with feature articles in major media publications such as the LA Times, Eater, Thrillist, and the LA Sentinel. Additionally, several businesses were profiled during television spots on KTLA, Good Day LA and Spectrum News.

“It’s exciting for us to see all the press participating businesses have received. We’ve had several people tell us that they discovered new businesses from seeing the hunt on the news and joining in,” Still said.

According to data collected throughout the event, this year’s scavenger hunt generated more 23 million virtual impressions across their social media channels – with over 4,900 website interactions and more than 2,600 local Instagram accounts engaged. 

Prosperity Market’s pop-up structure is crucial to some businesses, such as Bridgetown Roti, a Bajan food truck with no storefront presence. The truck’s owner, Rashida Holmes, said the marketplace is an essential resource for his business.

“We got involved last year, where we did their first one, and have been incredibly busy since then,” he said.

For others, like Malik Muhammad who co-owns Malik Books in the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Mall area, the opportunities created by Prosperity Market are fostering a stronger economy for everyone.

“Coming together as a community is rule number one when you want to make a change and a difference,” Muhammad said. “The vending and business opportunities are wonderful because this is what being out here in the Marketplace is all about.”  

Turning their attention to the upcoming holiday season, Prosperity Market will provide businesses a few more opportunities to connecting with community to close out the year.

In addition to a holiday-themed ‘pop-up’ market on December 3rd, the company will host a pair of virtual farmer’s markets, including an extended event from 12/5 – 12/15 featuring four specially curated holiday gift boxes – a snack box, flavor box, produce box, and self-care box featuring Prosperity Market favorites and best sellers.

About Prosperity Market

Prosperity Market grew out of a desire to create economic impact in our communities. With food insecurity and economic instability having long been linked to a cycle that reinforces systemic inequity, Prosperity Market was created to be a solution.

For more information, check out their website at: https://www.prosperitymarketla.com