The Clayton Club hosts a pop-up market for black-owned businesses

DENVER — The Clayton Members Club and Hotel held a pop-up market called “The Block Party” for black-owned businesses on Saturday in honor of Black History Month.

Dozens of black business owners lined the second-floor ballroom and greeted new customers.

Joce Blake, event organizer and founding member of the Clayton Members Club and hotel in Denver, said it’s hard to find so many business owners of color in one place.

“We don’t take up a lot of space in Colorado and I really wanted us to and the Clayton is the perfect place to do it because they allow me to take up space. So I just wanted to invite some of my favorite people to do this with me,” Blake said. “I think Denver has so much potential and I want to share it with the world.”

Esther Lee Leach, director of memberships for the Clayton Members Club and Hotel, said the event will help the club continue its mission.

“The Clayton, the idea behind it all is that it’s a different kind of members club, it’s an inclusive club,” Leach said. “It’s just nice to have a safe and welcoming gathering space.”

While some of these business owners who attended the event have been based in Denver for years, others, like The Oula Company founder and owner, Erika Massaquoi, have just arrived.

“I’m new to the Denver area, so it’s been great meeting other black entrepreneurs,” Massaquoi said.

The Oula Company offers women’s clothing in vibrant colors and patterns.

“Everything we do is based on using African wax fabric, so we source from Ghana, India, as well as Europe,” Massaquoi said. “The Oula Company will now be available at Nordstrom in late March at Cherry Creek Mall.

Blake said most of the businesses that attended the event are already very successful, and pop-up markets like this help show the community exactly what Colorado entrepreneurs of color have to offer.

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