MELVIN CLARK AND SUSAN DELANEY PURCHASE ITEMS FROM “THE COLAB” IN MONROEVILLE MALL, FEB. 19 (PHOTOS BY ROB TAYLOR JR.)
Small Black businesses have been getting quite the financial boost lately thanks to a “collaboration” happening at Monroeville Mall.
It’s called “The Colab,” a space on the second floor of the mall that, on any given day, could house as many as 20 Black-owned businesses.
Mall-goers have been spotted walking in and purchasing everything from custom-made shoes, to shirts, to African-based products, to food. One of those mall-goers was Susan Delaney, a Gateway School Board member and member of the Monroeville Rotary Club.
“The idea and the concept is very futuristic,” she told the Courier, Feb. 19, “and it gives an opportunity for a lot of people who want to start a business but can’t afford a storefront.”
DONALD DAVIS, 30, CO-OWNER OF “THE COLAB”
Pittsburgh Black entrepreneurs Alyse Fowlks, 22, and Donald Davis, 30, are the co-owners of “The Colab,” and they told the Courier collectively their excitement has been off the charts with the hoopla surrounding the venture.
“I’m ecstatic when I see people buying stuff,” Davis, a 2010 Allderdice High School graduate, said. “When I see people buying stuff, it gives me the satisfaction that I’m serving my purpose, and I know that they’re (the business owners) actually going somewhere with their dreams.”
TIFFANY HICKS, OWNER OF “KERA KOUTURE”
One of those Black business owners is Tiffany Hicks, owner of Kera Kouture. “It’s letting me showcase my products on a daily basis, and actually get to see how my sales are, how good I’m selling,” she told the Courier. Some of her offerings include crochet pieces, hidden mask sets, and bracelets.
KWL EMPIRE—MARLIS GARRISON, MICHAYLA GRAVES
Marlis Garrison is the co-owner of KWL Empire, which had its KWL Apparel “Succeed” brand showcased on Feb. 19 for all to see. The “Succeed” brand features shirts that say, “I can, I shall, I will SUCCEED.” She and her husband, Brent, also provide personal finance classes to individuals.
SCOOP, OF “SCOOP TV”
“Scoop TV” was part of “The Colab” as well on Feb. 19. The owner, Scoop, said he followed his passion of designing and selling clothes, along with photography and videography. He designed his logo while a student at Slippery Rock University.
DE-ON WEBB, OWNER OF MUTINY WORLDWIDE, WITH LASHA PRICE
McKeesport’s own De-on Webb, 24, is owner of Mutiny Worldwide, a clothing brand inside “The Colab.” He told the Courier that being a business owner can sometimes be “overwhelming,” but that he’s “proud of himself.” On Feb. 19, Lasha Price of Duquesne bought a Mutiny Worldwide mask from Webb.
ALYSE FOWLKS, 22, CO-OWNER OF “THE COLAB”
Fowlks, who graduated from Pittsburgh Sci-Tech in 2017, said her greatest excitement from being co-owner of “The Colab” was showing her “siblings and people younger than me how you should reach for your goals and work hard. I want to set a good example for them.”