By Verbal Adam | Special to The OBSERVER

The scene Nov. 25 was reminiscent of Christmas Eve at the North Pole: gifts being wrapped, the smell of fresh pastries in the air, holiday music and jolly old Black Santa, engaging kids and their families.

Children’s laughter filled the happy halls of Sacramento’s Black Wall Street during this year’s Black Friday Extravaganza. Retail Row at Florin Square, home to more than 200 businesses, nonprofits and retailers, launched the Christmas season with festivities, goodwill and a sense of community.

A DJ was provided by KDEE 97.5, the Sac Town Majorettes performed, the Melanin Academy provided free face-painting for the youth, and Sacramento poet Chris Coon portrayed Mansa Musa, the legendary ruler of Mali from 1312-1337 C.E., at the Sojourner Truth African American Heritage Museum.

Microbusiness owner Mary Arcenaux prepares her handmade wares at the Black Friday Festival. Verbal Adam, OBSERVER

Dozens of microbusinesses were provided space at the event, allowing those who otherwise could not compete against big box retailers a platform to not only market and sell their wares, but to build brand awareness and engage the community.

Wellness took center stage this year, with many products geared toward self-care, nutrition and mental health. There were vegan food options, skin and hair products, mental health professionals and a masseuse. Financial wellness was also on the menu, with professionals in banking, lending, investing and real estate on hand.

Keeping finances within the community by spending with smaller local businesses instead of big box retailers is at the core Black Wall Street. 

Tim Poole, aka DJ One Gone of KDEE 97.5, set the pace for the day, playing music and hosting raffles. Verbal Adam, OBSERVER

“Black businesses are invested in the community more so than large retailers because the owners live, work, play and raise their children in the communities we serve,” said Angela Benjamin, who owns a home improvement business and leads a pan-African homeschool collective. “When you support a Black-owned business, you’re bridging the wealth gap and supporting families and communities.”

Retail Row at Florin Square is located at 2251 Florin Road, Sacramento. Learn more information at florinsquare.com or by calling 916-727-1117.

Monica Clements-Perkins shops kente clothing in Retail Row at Florin Square. Verbal Adam, OBSERVER