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The 2013 Los Angeles Black Business Expo Starts Tomorrow!
This year The Expo (BBXLA) moves to the Hangar behind West Angeles Cathedral, Crenshaw and Exposition. Free Admission & Free Parking!
The Los Angeles BLACK BUSINESS EXPO starts this weekend (May 24 & 25th!)
Just want you to know:
- Admission and Parking: Free! Parking structure is just north of West Angeles Cathedral on Crenshaw. There’s also street parking.
- Taking the train to Exposition and Crenshaw? The entrance is closer to Exposition side, behind the church, one (1) block East of Crenshaw.
- EXHIBITORS PLEASE NOTE: The Move-In DATE Has Changed: The date to move in has been changed to Friday at 8 a.m. No Thursday Move in! Opening Ceremonies start Friday at 10:30 a.m. at the stage. Congratulations to our honorees! (Listed below)
- Latest Press Release: (Scroll below)
- Now you can pay for your booth space online: www.BlackBusinessExpo.com …click “Exhibitors” Note: By this writing all spaces may be taken. Call (323) 290-4743 or (323) 810-4752 to get approval before you purchase because we may be sold out by the time you read this!
- Expo Business Success Profile: WATTS COFFEE HOUSE, Desi Edwards, Owner (Scroll below) An Expo Food Court Success Story!
Note from the BBX president Harold Hambrick:
Special thanks: Bishop Charles Blake for tweeting to his many Twitter followers about the Expo, the BBA for the Eblast, Sarah from Suite Events, 1800 Unite Us, Rene Cross Washington, Eric Johnson, Isidra Person-Lynn, Ruth Williams, Antoinette Hunt, Kathe Hambrick, Sharon Edwards, Kathy Williamson, Ernestine Dixon, Vicki Phillips, Michael Riddick, all of our exhibitors, and countless others. Also Olu Alemoru, Wave Newspapers, Roland Bynum, KJLH, the Los Angeles Sentinel, the L.A. Watts Times, Pace News, and the West Angeles Church website, Raise the Praise, L.A. Focus on te Word and so many more for helping us spread the word.
The Latest Media Release:
BBX To Feature Food, Fitness, Finance, Gospel Music and More
Community Legends To Be Honored
The 21st Black Business Expo will open its doors Friday and Saturday, May 24 and 25, noon to 8 p.m., in “The Hangar” at the West Angeles Cathedral on Crenshaw and Exposition Boulevards (a few steps from the Metro Train station).
Designed to connect Black businesses and consumers, BBX will continue the events for which it has become known, including the Tom Bradley Business Institute; Tastin’ Black Culture Food court, West Coast GospeLive, Health & Fitness Pavilion, Fashion, Art Zone , Kid’s World and much more. Sponsors include OneUnited Bank, West Angeles Church, Watts Healthcare, PepsiCo, McDonald’s and Sparkletts water..
In addition to relocating to the heart of the South L.A. community, the show has been re-designed to be more community and consumer friendly, with free parking and admission.
The opening ceremony will be held on Friday, May 24, 10:30 a.m., in “The Hangar.” At that time, BBX will honor community legends, including L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who will receive the Tom Bradley award; Bishop Charles E. Blake Sr., Presiding Bishop, Church of God in Christ Inc., and Pastor, West Angeles Cathedral, the Booker T. Washington award; Dr. Genevieve Shepherd, Principal, Tom Bradley Global Awareness Magnet School, the Mary McLeod Bethune award; 103 year-old retired Pullman Porter, Lee Gibson, the A. Philip Randolph award, and 99 year-old entrepreneur Leon Garr, the Frederick Douglass Award
This year’s food court will also include, McDonald’s “smoothie” mobile and a gumbo cooking demonstration by Kathe Hambrick, Executive Director, River Road African American Museum (in Donaldsonville, Louisiana). The West Coast GospeLive event will feature local choirs each day from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
“This year, more than ever, it is important to empower our South Los Angeles (SoLA) community,” said Harold Hambrick, BBX Executive Director. “The time is always right to educate and encourage African American consumers to support Black businesses. In order for our businesses to continue to be the economic engines of our community, we must increase our support of them. BBX provides another opportunity for businesses and community members to connect. Not only have we relocated, but we have re-designed the show to be more community and consumer friendly.”
Founded in 1989 by Barbara Lindsey as a way of introducing Black businesses to consumers, share information on entrepreneurism and business development and build long-term relationships, BBX has exposed thousands of small businesses and corporations to nearly a million attendees. Several businesses have raised their profiles as a result of BBX attendance, according to Hambrick. According to the latest business research, 1.5 million African Americans spend more than 9 billion dollars in the Los Angeles metropolitan area.
Business Born at the Expo: The Watts Coffee House Story
By Isidra Person-Lynn
Here is a quick interview with Desiree Edwards, Owner
At this 21st Los Angeles Black Business Expo, the Watts Coffee House will be a featured business, offering its famous Yard Bird (fried chicken) and fries (the real kind!) Founder Desiree Edwards took a break to tell the amazing story of how it all started 16 years ago:
Back around 1995, the entrepreneurial Desiree Edwards operated a balloon business and worked in telecommunications corporate management in Sherman Oaks. Her friend Karen Coleman asked if she would make some Turkey Wings for and event Velma Oden was planning at her job at Hubert Humphrey Medical Center. Desi agreed and “put her foot in those wangs.” Velma’s husband, Dr. Clyde Oden was then the leader of Watts Health Systems, and the board needed some catering for an event after having fallen out with their regular caterer. Upon hearing the raving about Desi’s wings, Karen’s mother Phyllis Coleman asked Desi to cater the luncheon. “It was about 100 degrees, but I made turkey and dressing. Word got around about that crazy girl who cooked all that good food in that heat, and the next thing I knew I was in as the regular caterer and they had many events. I was still working at my corporate job so I would hire helpers, get up get everything ready and leave my helper there to serve and I would go to work.”
She became friendly with the WattsHealth staff which included Harold Hambrick, now Expo president, who would book her for various catering jobs. “He’d say, ‘I only have $500 but we have to feed 200 people so make it work’ and then he’d add ‘Just don’t run out of food,’ ” Desi remembered.
When Harold Hambrick became more heavily involved in the Los Angeles Black Business Expo, Desi began to Exhibit her catering services One day Harold asked her to meet him at what was formerly the Relish House. “He asked me if I would like to put my business in there? ‘Sure!’ I said. Then he made me take an oath, raise my right hand and repeat after him: ‘I understand y’all not going to give me a dime. Whatever I’m doing, I am doing on my own.’ ”
She named her business Watts Coffee House, introduced it at the Black Business Expo and continued to exhibit her catering services but attendees would want to come patronize her. “Finally in 1997, I decided to open. People always ask me if I took a loan. No, I made up a menu, which Dean Jones typed up all nice on some pretty paper, went to the store and bought some groceries and came in here and opened up!”
When you go to the Watts Coffee House, at Wilmington and 103rd Street, the homey decor which Harold had a big hand in, is also somewhat of an historic shrine to notables who have patronized the Watts Coffee House. Desi catered for the Steve Harvey Morning Show for years, and had done a lot with KJLH. Steve Harvey, Stevie Wonder, NFL Coach Pete Carroll and so many more notables have brought their entourages to come and eat and sign her walls. Her restaurant is adjacent to a larger auditorium and many events have taken place, included her legendary, mouth watering Sunday Brunches, which offer live entertainment.
“But what I love about this place is that it was also designed as a training module for resident graduates from the house of Uhuru, the drug rehabilitation program of WattsHealth.
Dr. Oden and others required those big hotels where they spent a lot of money to train and hire the Uhuru graduates and this was another module for the training.
I also like the fact that residents of the area have somewhere to go to sit down and eat. It took the community 4 years before they were comfortable enough to come in and sit down. They would come to the door and order food, but not come in. They would order bread, meat and cheese, no condiments, lettuce tomato or anything. I told them to tell us how they wanted it and we would fix it just for them. And when they would eat here they would rake their plates and wipe off tables. I had to tell them, ‘this is your place. Come in and relax. We have people to do that for you.’ Now when someone comes from out of town they proudly bring them here to eat.
Hambrick and Desi has planned a WattStax reunion in late August. Plans for the future? “There are developers trying to get me to open up another location, but right now, my first priority is my Dad who is ill.” Not too long ago she lost her entrepreneurial mom so this latest health challenge weighs heavily. Duty calls and she is planning to be by his side.
Prayers for your Dad and your family, Desi from your admirers at the Expo!
Phone and Directions
Watts Coffee House
1827 E 103rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90002
Telephone: (323) 249-4343
Located on the (NW) corner of 103rd and Wilmington Ave
North of the 105 & East of the 110 Freeways
VIDEO–Harold Hambrick’s Plan
In this pic, look behind the West Angeles Cathedral. Do you see the long, white building with the ridged roof? That is where we will be Friday and Saturday, May 24 & 25, 2013 from Noon-8 p.m. right at Crenshaw and Exposition Boulevards in L.A. Thanks to Facebook, Twitter, and UPS, we are in touch! This Memorial Day weekend, let’s find each other again, face to face, and tell one another some good news.
In this film, Harold Hambrick, Expo President explains just how this year’s show will be staged:(Click the photo to see the movie). Produced by Isidra Person-Lynn, House of the Rising Sons Media Group.
EXHIBITORS, SIGN UP HERE!
Want more info about prices? Log on to www.BlackBusinessExpo.com, click “Exhibitors” and download the Exhibitor Kit, complete with price list, booth sizes, registration form, hours, etc.
CALL WITH ANY QUESTIONS: (323) 810-4752.
With only 24 days until the Expo, decide today for the best location.
The Expo Office is located in the OneUnited Bank building at 3683 Crenshaw Blvd, Ste. 501, Los Angeles, CA 90016, 5th Floor.
Call (323) 810-4752
The Hangar is located one half block East of Crenshaw. The entrance is closer to Exposition, half block behind West Angeles Cathedral.
Where are they now?
We would love to profile your business if you were a youth that grew up at the Expo and now own a business, like Jarim Person-Lynn, author “Brass Knuckle Finance” and the upcoming book “This is Why You’re Broke.” Jarim will again be an exhibitor at the 2013 Expo.
Spread the Word: “Like” our Facebook Page, Follow us on Twitter @BlackBusExpo and on our website, click “Posts” for the latest Expo Update.