Updated: May 8
by Paula Anderson
Greg and Tee Westbrook started their entrepreneurial journey in 2018. The couple decided to turn their ‘side hustle’ into a business model. Leaving corporate America was a decision for Tee Westbrook - she was ready to be a full-time entrepreneur. “I was curating events and Greg decided to help me,” said Tee Westbrook.
With business administration degrees and business acumen, the ‘leap’ into entrepreneurship prepared the couple for the Shop Black concept stated Greg Westbrook.
Tee Westbrook graduated from Tennessee State University with a business administration degree in accounting. Greg Westbrook graduated from Howard University with a business degree in finance. Shop Black Nashville was the original name for the concept in 2019. In March 2020, they held another event, but the city suffered a tornado, and the venue was closed, which led the couple to hosting outdoor events. Although the pandemic was a ‘hit’ to many businesses, Greg and Tee Westbrook used this as an opportunity to rebrand the concept and travel to other cities to increase black business awareness and exposure.
According to Tee Westbrook, six cities (Nashville, Memphis, Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis and Charlotte) were locations in 2021.
“Last year, 718 businesses generated $300,000 in revenue by participating in the tour,” said Tee Westbrook. Expanding outside Nashville was the art of ‘storytelling,’ stated Tee Westbrook. The couple worked together to build relationships with the cities based on the Black business population. This growth led to building a team and helping businesses employ others, stated Tee Westbrook. The ‘secret sauce’ behind the vendor pop-up is the “celebration of blackness and entrepreneurship,” added Tee Westbrook. On May 14, Shop Black City Tour will be held in Memphis at Fourth Bluff Park located in Downtown Memphis.
“There will be 50 vendors for this event, and we are expecting about 1,000 people to attend,” said Greg Westbrook. The couple has a partnership with a parking lot to accommodate attendees, stated Greg Westbrook.
“We want this to be a celebration of black excellence because Memphis has a lot of black-owned businesses,” said Greg Westbrook. “We want to showcase them to bring more revenue.”
For sponsorship and vendor opportunities, send email to Shop Black City Tour at email@example.com. Paula Anderson is a professional journalist and founder of Writing by Design Media, Inc.