Jacksonville business owner wants everyone to feel welcome at her boutique

News4Jax is sharing stories of Black-owned businesses for National Black Business Month

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Bryanetta Humphrey, the owner of the Talk of the Town boutique in Avondale, says she can find the perfect outfit for anyone.

Her boutique sells clothes among many other things

“I believe I was born to own the Talk of the Town,” Humphrey said.

Humphrey’s love for her business is evident. But she admits being a Black business owner in a predominately white community is not easy.

“You have to decide whose face are they going to see when you open the doors,” Humphrey said. “We didn’t have a grand opening. Why? Because we’re a Black-owned business.”

A year and a half after first opening the doors of the boutique, Humphrey started to feel more comfortable in her role as the face of the business.

That’s when she was hit with her next challenge: the coronavirus pandemic.

A study released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York revealed Black-owned businesses are twice as likely to fail overall during the pandemic and have been some of the most negatively impacted.

But Humphrey wasn’t going to let that happen. She started selling items through Instagram and offered appointment-only in-person shopping.

And just as Humphrey started to get back on her feet from a business point of view, she says the Black Lives Matter protests around the country put her back on edge as a Black business owner.

“I greeted her with our Talk of the Town greeting, and she stopped me and said, ’Is this your boutique?’ And I hesitated before I answered. I hesitated. I paused long enough for her to wonder, ’Why did you hesitate?’ And she asked me, ’Why did you hesitate?’” Humphrey said. “And before I answered, I guess my face said it all, and she said, ’Honey, Black Lives Matter.’”

It was a moment that Humphrey says she could have never prepared herself for.

“I realized in that moment that I waited all my life to hear someone that didn’t look like me say that,” Humphrey said.

That’s why Humphrey says she will never hesitate again if she’s asked if she owns the store.

“We want everyone to feel welcome at the Talk of the Town because when everyone feels welcome in the Talk of the Town, we believe the whole town will talk about the thing we’re talking about right now,” Humphrey said.

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