Aside from four years of undergrad, Janay Moss has lived in New Rochelle her entire life. (Don’t worry, she did her graduate studies at the former College of New Rochelle.) She works teaching special education students in Scarsdale Middle School, but at 26 Moss still lives in the Lincoln Ave neighborhood near where she grew up. Recently, she also launched one of the most comprehensive databases of black-owned businesses for the Westchester and NYC Metro Area.
“I began to see many pages post about black-owned businesses that we can support during this time,” says Moss. “There were many posts and I couldn’t keep up with who had what list and when. I posted a list, and an associate mentioned that she wished there was a comprehensive list for Westchester, and that’s when I was like, ‘Ah-ha!'”
ALLTHNGSBLCK aims to be a guide to businesses of nearly every variety — services, beauty, barbers, retail, food and drink, entertainment — all conveniently broken down by location in either the Westchester County or NYC areas. Users can browse by location or subcategories like cuisine, financial services, and more to find established businesses they can patronize in order to help keep their dollars flowing into the local African American community.
“I started making spreadsheets; screenshotted for easy reference; posted on Facebook groups, on my personal pages, everything I had access to. Once word got out about what I was doing, people started sending me information, inviting me to groups, telling their friends and family. I frequently look through specific hashtags so I can find more businesses to put on the site. I reach out to companies directly and tell them our mission. I will be visiting more places to let them know they are on the site, so they know who I am and to purchase from them. Relationships are everything to me, so I want them to know I care about this.”
For Moss, though, the goal isn’t merely to help support black businesses right now, it’s to make more accessible to their communities in the long-run.
“I work with Karen Umeda and we talked about how hard it is for black-owned businesses to get small business loans off the bat,” Moss says. “When they can get funding, then they don’t get enough support from the community because people spend their money elsewhere. We want people to support these businesses and keep money in the black community for generations to come.”
Guests to ALLTHNGSBLCK can even submit a business if they find one is not already on the list, with options for providing location details, websites, social media accounts, and even whether or not a dining establishment offers vegan or vegetarian menu options.
“So many people, black-owned establishments, have amazing products and services to offer, but if they can’t get the support, how can we experience those things?”