This year Soul Junction has forged a new partnership with the Black Business Owners of Charlotte (BBOC). Through this partnership BBOC will handle coordinating the food trucks and vendors for the festival. Alysia Osborne, Director of Historic West End at Charlotte Center City Partners, explains why the partnership was developed. “At the onset of Soul Junction the community expressed a strong desire to have music as a focal point, but also providing vendor opportunities.” She continued, “This ties into the main purpose of the music festival which is to celebrate the history and culture of the area as well as showcase local talent and recycle dollars in the community. So, it just seemed like a natural fit to partner with the Black Business Owners of Charlotte.”
Taking on a venture of this kind is not new to BBOC. Founder of BBOC Cathay Dawkins said that their work with Black Enterprise Magazine led to the Soul Junction partnership. BBOC hosted a signature food truck rally during the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit held in Charlotte June 6 – 9. “Alysia and I both served on the steering committee for the Black Enterprise summit,” explained Dawkins. “BBOC hosted Black Food Truck Thursday sponsored by the City of Charlotte and Black Enterprise. Alysia came to the event and was impressed by the attendance, the layout and the presentation of the event.” When the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurship Summit wrapped Alysia decided to forge the partnership.
The goal for the partnership is to support Historic West End economic development by connecting the BBOC crowd to the Soul Junction experience. The BBOC crowd is one that understands the narrative of supporting black owned businesses. It is a crowd that supports an organization that is investing in West and East Charlotte. It is a crowd that will help Historic West End businesses be patronize during Soul Junction.
For the past two years Soul Junction vendors have been providing a variety of food offerings during the festival. This will still be a focus for BBOC in addition to bringing in more vendors that service the Historic West End already. Dawkins explained what a BBOC branded event will bring to Soul Junction.“We intentionally bring a variety of cuisines. From Ethiopian to Caribbean. From Soul Food to Seafood. Plus dessert trucks. And we intertwine food vendors with merchants who sale jewelry, skin care products, clothing and more.”
To become a vendor at Soul Junction go to the BBOC website and fill out a vendor application. When vendors click on the opportunity with Soul Junction they will be taken through the vendor agreement. Dawkins said the agreement will explain in detail what is expected of the vendor, set-up times, set-up locations, vendor fees, and expectations for insurance and permits. For details visit BBOCLT.com/Vendor-Opportunities.