The Knoxville Black Business Directory is a website that was launched in October 2020 with the express purpose of bringing more publicity to Black-owned businesses. It works as a hub, where people can register their businesses and visitors to the site can find businesses sorted into various categories for whatever they need, rather than sorted by name.
“You can find from consultants to dog groomers on this list of businesses,” said Damon Rawls, founder of the Knoxville Black Business Directory. “It’s fantastic. People need to know that these businesses are here and they exist.”
The directory functions as a way for customers to find specific businesses to fit their needs, whatever they may be. It fills a much needed niche, as the city of Knoxville itself does not have anything similar. It also seems to be quite popular, as it boasts roughly 200 registered businesses in total, and around 1700 unique visitors to the site a month, according to Rawls. The site has been covered by news organizations such as WATE, Knox News, and WBIR.
“I want people to be intentional with their spending. You know, take a portion of your spending and spend it with Black businesses. Because those Black businesses live in the Knoxville community, they pay taxes in Knoxville, which increases the economic base, the tax base, everything about Knoxville,” Rawls continued. “Local-run businesses give more to nonprofits in a community; they hire people in a community. So the more you support businesses in a community, the better the community becomes.”
Rawls has a background in web design, as the principal strategist with The Innovation Digital Agency. This means the Directory’s interface is sleek and user-friendly, with a search button front and center to help any visitor to the site find whatever kind of business they are seeking.