PEARLAND, Texas (KTRK) -- BLCK Market, dubbed the nation's largest monthly gathering of Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs, opened its first retail store in Pearland.
J.O. Malone, the founder and CEO of BLCK Market, said he wanted to create a place where local Black-owned businesses could showcase their talent. After breaking ground in 2017, Malone said the demand pushed them to grow.
SEE RELATED STORY: How you can support black-owned businesses in Houston
"It just became bigger and bigger," Malone said. "The community wanted more. From first Fridays to second Saturdays."
When the pandemic hit in March of 2020, Malone said they had to pivot the marketplace online. On Saturday, Malone and his wife opened the first retail store in Pearland Town Center, showcasing 25 local vendors.
"It's that in-person touch, that experience that you get when you shop BLK Market," Malone said. "The people, the stories, the vendors, the quality products."
In the store, there are videos from the business owners, telling their stories and why they started their business. Malone said they are looking to expand and hope that the vendors will continue to grow and be able to open their own store.
"Being here in Pearland, my hometown, where I was born and raised," Malone said. "Being in Pearland Town Center, where they are so accepting of us and in what we do and what we stand for, it's just a beautiful thing."
SEE RELATED STORY: Houston leads the way as a top metro for minority-owned startups
For updates on this story, follow Roxie Bustamante on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.