August is National Black Business Month.

MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) – August is National Black Business Month and there are many black-owned businesses in the Greater Mankato area.

“It highlights the Mankato area and how diverse it is becoming and the importance of businesses catering to the diverse demographics of the area,” said Greater Mankato Diversity Council Executive Director Mohamed Alsadig.

According to, there were 26,506 black-owned businesses in Minnesota in 2017, and that number has continued to grow over the past 6 years.

“The Mankato area has seen an influx of minority-owned businesses in the last few years. In my opinion, it’s not enough and we need to push for more ownership,” Alsadig continued.

Black-owned businesses like Mirror Image Salon and Specialty Hair & Color are calling Mankato home and providing much-needed services.

“We hope to be able to respect, learn, learn about different cultures and learn from the cultures that they do things, why they do those things, what’s important to them,” said Richmond Clark, owner of Unique Hair & Inc.

“So I think the importance of having such a diverse salon in this area is so important. Oftentimes we end up in places that don’t provide the services we need or don’t have the education or knowledge we need to be able to serve a diverse clientele,” said Valerie Hines, owner of Mirror Images Salon.

Richmond Clark and Valerie Hines, owners of Exclusive Hair and Color, see the importance of highlighting black-owned businesses in their community every day.

“I think when it comes to a small business, clothing, hair, music. Anything that we can do to bring awareness to the community and grow our community further. I think it’s very important,” Hines said.

“And now to be a part of a black-owned business month as well as a minority culture in Minnesota and Mankato. It was huge, it was great,” Clark added.

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