(WFSB) -- A new website was created in an effort to promote and encourage black-owned businesses in Connecticut.
The website ShopblackCT.com was created by Sarah Thompson.
She said she was inspired after participating in the protests following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
"After those protests, I wanted to do something tangible, really go from empathy to action,” Thompson said.
So, she focused on a way to help Black-owned businesses that have been devastated by the pandemic.
According to a report by the National Bureau of Economic Research, 41 percent of Black-owned businesses have had to close, compared to 17 percent white-owned businesses.
“When you see those numbers, when you see the fact there hasn't been an equal playing field, you need a platform that will create an opportunity for those businesses to shine and things, but also not expect anything back in return by offering this free promotion service,” said contributor Yvette Young.
The website ShopblackCT.com is an all-volunteer effort, and launched in July starting with 175 businesses.
Now there are 850 businesses listed, including Your CBD Store in Simsbury.
"We were one of the first in her blog, and since then we have received social media invites, people in the store, business had increased. We saw an uptick in the first 15 days and they're still coming in from ShopblackCT.com,” said Katonya Hughey, owner of Your CBD Store.
ShopblackCT.com is not just a website for these businesses. The volunteers who are involved provide professional photography, digital marketing and business development support, all at no cost to the business owners.
ShopblackCT.com is making an impact, helping black owned businesses connect with their customers and their community.