If you live on Lafayette’s northside and frequent the Northgate mall this is something that might excite you!
Lafayette’s oldest mall will soon be the home to three new black-owned businesses.
Roni LeCroix, owner of Molly & A’Nya’s Fast Food restaurant and Let Your Light Shine Gifts and More, a gift shop is working to help bring the wig/hair store, Sista 2 Sista’s Hair Galor3, a production business titled 110% Productions in a shared space with 100 BLK, a media site targeting Urban Life & Culture, based in New Orleans and Lafayette.
Vondell’s, a clothing store that targets women and children will also open in the mall with the two that will potentially open next month according to LeCroix.
“It’s so important for us to do what no one has done for us, when we were coming up as youth. You’re asking people to put the guns down but not putting something there to replace of the guns you’re actually asking to put down,” says LeCroix.
Roni’s two business partners agree with the revitalization efforts.
“We’re blessed that we came together and decided to work together and undergirth one another and support one another,” said Joe Depree-Anderson.
Joshua Edmund adds, “Trying to get these youth off the street to put the guns down but if you don’t have another option, they’ll continue to what it is until we give them another option.”
Chelsea Henry and Norteisha Stokes, partnering owners of the wig/hair store explain why it’s important to them to open a business in Northgate.
“Everything is always on the southside and we have nothing on the northside so putting it here inside the Northgate mall will be closer for people who don’t have vehicles,” says Chelsea Henry. “It’s closer for us.”
Though black-owned businesses makeup a portion of the U.S. economy, there are a lot of misconception about black businesses, one being that they often fail, and opportunities are limited.
We spoke with local business expert, Wayne Rabalais who reassures us it’s not the case.
“Don’t let the color of your skin or your educational background hold you back – the opportunity is there. Lafayette was recognized, several years ago, as the best place to start a business in the united states. So, find the opportunity, work hard at it and you got to have a little bit of an alligator skin because not everybody is going to like what you do and go from there,” said Rabalais.