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Cincinnati Gives Black Businesses A Larger Stage During Music Festival

Some Cincinnatians are unwinding after the largest tourism event of the year wrapped up Sunday.

Over the weekend, the Cincinnati USA Convention and Visitors Bureau supported the Vibe Marketplace on Fountain Square and Cincy Soul: The Black Taste to give local black businesses a larger platform during the Cincinnati Music Festival, one of Cincinnati's biggest drivers of tourism.

The bureau says $107.5 million was spent in two-and-a-half days during last year's Music Festival. "Any time you spend $107 million within a region at one event in two-and-a-half days you want to make sure there is equity," says Jason Dunn, group vice president for the visitors bureau.

The bureau says 79.8% of attendees were from out of town.

Toyia Montgomery owns Charm Consulting, one of the black local businesses the bureau partnered with. Her brand ambassadors surveyed visitors to get a better picture of how their time was in the Queen City. "How they have enjoyed their time here in Cincinnati; what led them here; how did they find out about the music festival; how often have they come," she says.

Montgomery says the partnership was paid and boosted her brand because her logo was included on promotional materials. But in the past, that didn't translate into new clients.

She says the struggle of being an African American woman owning a business is having a client see the value in working with a small business. "You can't just call for advice and then you don't want to pay for a service," she says. 

When asked what she looked forward to most about the weekend she laughed and said she was looking forward to resting on Sunday.

"It's a lot of coordination, it's a lot of people and a lot of talking, so by Sunday you don't have a voice," she says.

Credit Ambriehl Crutchfield / WVXU
Music goers jam out to RBRM.

The bureau also had a Cincinnati Black Pride Day Party and Empower(her) Hour Fireside Chat. They say having inclusive events is an effort to pull in more diverse business opportunities.