Chamber, minority business owners connect to bridge the gap

Published 2:23 pm Thursday, October 28, 2021

Minority business owners and the Oxford-Lafayette Chamber of Commerce gathered at Bar Muse to network and mingle in an effort to bridge the gap in communication and resources, help the entrepreneurs take their next step and diversify the business landscape in the Lafayette-Oxford-University community.

Key organizers Joe Stinchcomb, owner of Bar Muse; Josh McGlawn, owner of McGlawn Services and founder of Real Talk with Real Men and Tammy Herod, owner of Tammy’s Hair Gallery worked with the chamber to create a fun learning experience.

“It was really good being here,” said Ty Williams, owner of CravingTy’s Hair Bar. At 22 years old, the University of Mississippi senior runs her own salon braiding hair and selling quality hair products.

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“Everything was new for me and I’ve never been in a setting like this,” she said. “It’s really good that they want to help up-and-coming business owners, minorities especially, because we don’t really opportunities especially in small towns. I’m young so I need events like this so I can have the resources to keep going.”

The chamber goal is to serve all ethnic groups, ages, genders, professions, and backgrounds whether or not that individual may be a member.

“As someone who might not have struggled or seen from a certain perspective, I didn’t realize that we didn’t feel like a chamber for all of our community members,” said Chamber Chairman Quentin Brewer. “That is what this community and what this chamber is for. We are working on the [community’s] behalf. We’re working for the betterment of the entire community, it’s not just supposed to be for a select few.”

Brewer and President Jon Maynard attended to hear the needs and interests of minority business owners like Jarvis Williams of Williams Hot Pressure Washer and Lawn Service or Tricia Gipson of Blessed Hands Salon who want to get more involved and take their business to the next level.

Williams said it’s his mission to bring more awareness to himself and his business and attending this get together is one of his first steps.

“I’m here to put myself out there and get more involved,” said Williams. “I heard the chamber was a good way to get involved and show more people who I am.”

Entrepreneurs mingled, shared their stories about their experiences as minority business owners in the LOU community and doled out advice amongst each other. Guests were able to talk to professionals in the food, finance, business, maintenance and hair industry to name a few.

For many these networking events are the initial steps to something greater for the entire community. Owner of The Segment Productions and host of “The Segment Show” Fred Nettles hopes these minority-owned business initiative events can be taken even further in the future.

“This event overall is needed, not only in Oxford but throughout the country,” said Nettles. “Just having the opportunity for everyone to get things done and to collaborate is great. If we put our mind and thoughts together, we can work on moving forward.”