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Diversity Shop at KeyBank Center: Showcasing Black-Owned Businesses with Erie County’s Level Up Initiative

The Buffalo Sabres have introduced the “Diversity Shop at KeyBank Center” in collaboration with the Erie County Level Up program, aimed at showcasing eight Black-owned retailers and their merchandise at four Sabres home games.

Located on the 100-level concourse, the Diversity Shop will feature two participating Level Up businesses at each game, with one in the east wing and the other in the west. These retailers will engage with fans, showcasing their products and sharing information about their businesses at designated tables.

The Erie County Level Up initiative, spearheaded by Erie County Legislature Chairwoman April N.M. Baskin and backed by the Buffalo Bills and the Community Benefits Agreement, seeks to support business owners from disadvantaged backgrounds in Western New York by providing resources and corporate connections to aid their growth.

April N.M. Baskin emphasized the importance of creating opportunities for marginalized small business owners and expressed excitement about partnering with the Sabres and Bills to showcase Buffalo and Erie County’s retailers. The Diversity Shop aims to introduce a wider audience to these entrepreneurs and their products.

During Black History Month, Baskin aims to spotlight Black-owned businesses in Buffalo, assisting in expanding their reach and overcoming financial and informational barriers. Participating business owners will not only showcase at a Sabres game but also attend a stadium retailers’ workshop and receive a $1,000 business grant.

The eight businesses featured at the Diversity Shop from Feb. 13 to March 12 include Najah Corporation, Skincare Essentials by Jill, Elle James Decor, Black Monarchy, Melanin Skyn Co., Skinny Wick Candle Co., Nikki’s Chocolates WNY, and Charm Handmade Jewelry.

Rob Minter, interim COO of the Buffalo Sabres, expressed enthusiasm for collaborating with Level Up and hosting their businesses at select games, reinforcing the organization’s commitment to supporting diverse groups in Buffalo.

The schedule for the Diversity Shop showcases different businesses at each game, offering attendees the chance to learn more about these impactful enterprises.

Courtney Nelson Benton, owner of Elle James Décor, expressed gratitude for the opportunity to showcase her products and services to the Sabres and Bills communities through the Level Up initiative.

Yachiga Tavershima
Yachiga Tavershima
Soccer Blogger with a keen eye for detailed reportage. I bring the latest drama in the most dramatic way


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