A Black-owned retail store in Michigan is building a special relationship with other Black businesses in the community. While offering the latest fashion trends at her Basic Bee store in Grand Rapids, Michigan, owner Renise Warners is also coming up with creative ideas to help her fellow entrepreneurs. Warners’ plans include monthly events that promote local Black businesses. One of those recent events, The Barbie Bash, featured two pop-up shops from two other businesses, WoodTV reported.

Additionally, Warners invites other businesses to promote their products in her store. Static Flow, a jewelry business, is among those that are promoting its product at The Basic Bee.

“One thing I like to do in store is just offer some extras to customers whenever I can and give other businesses a chance to shine as well,” Warners said in an interview with WoodTV. “I’ve been blessed to have a location in a great area, so if I can open up that customer base to other people I’m more than happy to do so.”

Warners is also thrilled to have a partnership with Chartreuse Sisters, a local bakery. The two businesses are sharing a building that was empty for 30 years.

“The inclusion of Basic Bee and the bakery Chartreuse Sisters next door really livened up the corner a lot,” Warners said. “So we’ve gotten great feedback from the community.”

Warners said her store, which opened in 2020, provides “trendy, fashion-forward pieces” and clothing for people of various sizes. Additionally, Basic Bee sells locally-made products such as candles and room sprays. The key, Warners said, is to always keep up with the latest trends while also making sure she meets the needs of local customers.

“I’m checking Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest to see what trends are coming, but then also adapting those for West Michigan,” she said. “Obviously, we have a different style than people do maybe have in Miami or New York or LA. So adapting those trends that we’re seeing all over the world to a West Michigan shopper.”

Warners opened her store after working in retail for brands such as Hollister and Apple. When she opened her store in 2020, the Michigan entrepreneur made it a goal to give back to the community.

“There’s lots of gatekeeping that happens, especially within retail and for smaller businesses,” she said. “There’s more than enough resources for everyone. You just have to be able to find them. And sometimes it’s just a friend or a colleague making a suggestion that gets your foot in the door and gets you where you need to be. And so if I can offer that to anybody else, I would gladly do so.”

The Michigan business owner said it was Black entrepreneurs who inspired her when she was growing up. As the nation now celebrates Black History Month, Warners said it’s a great time to educate people about many Black figures who are not widely known.

“During Black History Month, that’s when there’s events and there’s programming and there’s resources — that are usually readily available but they’re in your face at this time,” she said. “So it’s really a good opportunity to learn more, because Black history is American history and it’s something that everyone should know, understand and be a part of.”