Local online website designed to help Black-owned business expands nationwide

Spicy Green Book started off as a website designed to help local Black-owned businesses, now it's a nation-wide guide and there's even an app.
INGLEWOOD, (KABC) -- Denise Harris is the owner of Inglewood's We Cupcake and like many small business owners this past year, she's faced challenges due to the pandemic.

"I was worried," Harris said. "I thought we were going to shut down."

But Harris and her business got some help from a local non-profit organization called Spicy Green Book.

"We've had ups and downs last year," Harris said. "But I think maybe the last few months of last year it's really been going strong."

"We help black owned businesses with their digital presence," said Danilo Batson, founder of Spicy Green Book. "So, we match them with professional volunteers who help in the marketing and creative space."

Batson wanted to help find solutions to the economic challenges facing Black Americans, which is how he came up with the idea in July of 2020 to start a website, Spicy Green Book, that not only shows you Black-owned businesses in your community, but also helps advertise for them.

Batson said they don't only focus on restaurants.

"[We do] restaurants, some people have products that are in grocery stores," Batson said. "We do caterers, boutiques, as long as you have food and beverage somewhere we can we can work with you."

"I've seen an increase in business," Harris said. "It's advertising on our website, so it's major,"

Spicy Green Book started out showing businesses in Orange County, but now the website is a national online guide featuring 185 Black-owned businesses in 23 states including Ontario, Canada.

And now, there's an app to go along with it.

"Feedback has been great," Batson said. "A lot of positivity, like a lot of people liked the idea. A lot of people backing it. Even some of the business owners has helped Spicy Green Book expand."

With over 200 volunteers and 800 volunteer applications in the last six months, Batson said he still wants to see Spicy Green Book continue to grow, which is why he encourages people to donate and continue to apply to volunteer on the website.

"Just kind of kept going and kept going," Batson said. "And so, who am I to say 'No' if there's opportunity to continue its growth."

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