Wall Street Cafe in Suffolk is inspired by the old black business district of Tulsa

The district of Greenwood in Tulsa, known as “Black Wall Street”, was destroyed in the Tulsa Race Massacre in 1921.

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – This holiday season, a unique cafe in Suffolk will open to help small businesses.

Wall Street Cafe is in the heart of Suffolk on W. Washington Street.

A Norfolk native, co-owner and entrepreneur Danita Hayes said the Wall Street Cafe is inspired by the beauty of former “Black Wall Street” in the Greenwood district of Tulsa, Oklahoma. The booming black business district was destroyed in the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, one of the deadliest terrorist attacks on American soil.

“It was a tragedy. However, we are not focusing on the tragedy, ”said Hayes. “We focus on what these people were able to do when they came together as a community and what they were able to accomplish. We’re trying to recreate that here in downtown Suffolk! “

The Wall Street Cafe opened during the pandemic. “We’re not just here to serve you coffee, drinks and great food. We have that, but we are also here to educate, ”said Hayes. “We see ourselves as a staple in the community and we are here to educate the community about entrepreneurship, real estate, the stock market, [and] cryptocurrency.

There is a space to learn, with classes and workshops on how to generate wealth. “We have a corporate culture,” says Hayes. “It is our responsibility as business owners to be leaders in the community. “

The first Saturday in December, Wall Street Cafe will host a pop-up store.

“I have declared Contractor’s Day, it will be a statutory holiday,” said Hayes. “It will showcase their businesses. It’s a day when all businesses can come together, we can network together and learn from each other.

Hayes wants everyone to come support the businesses and take a photo in front of the Wall Street mural.

Blair Durham, president of Black BRAND, the Black Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, expects business owners to continue to create unique ways to attract shoppers this holiday season.

“Business owners are thinking more creatively about what they can teach, not just what they can sell,” said Durham.

Durham hosts a podcast also inspired by the District of Greenwood called the Black Wall Street Today. She says it’s part of an effort to close the wealth gap between minorities and other races.

Over the past holiday season, there has been a nationwide push to buy from black-owned businesses.

“Hashtag buy black is one thing, I think what gave the black buying movement its legs has been defiantly social media.”

She expects this trend to continue this Christmas. To find local black-owned businesses, the Black Brand app has a comprehensive list.

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