With tools as simple as a low-power FM radio station and a vegetable garden, a group of entrepreneurs are hoping to create a black business district in Peoria.
Operating from a 6,500-square-foot abandoned warehouse, the Minority Business Development Center and the Black Business Alliance launched under the auspices of husband-and-wife team Garry and Denise Moore.
According to an article in The Final Call, the couple bring an effective talent mix to the enterprise. Denise Moore is a Peoria city councilwoman who offers public-sector expertise. Since he is a former news broadcaster, her husband, Garry, has the know-how to operate and program the group’s FM station.
Although there are concrete resources the group provides (including advice from the Nation of Islam Peoria Study Group), Denise Moore said “providing hope for people in the community” is their primary goal.
“One of the things that drove me was seeing the State of Illinois census data that indicated that the number of African American businesses in Peoria was so small (that) it doesn’t even register as a number, it’s a footnote,” Denise Moore told The Final Call.
The building houses meeting and planning space for the alliance and development center, as well as the studio for the alliance’s WPNV 106.3 FM radio station.
The broadcasts help them reach listeners’ hearts and minds, but it’s a vegetable garden co-developed with the Nation of Islam’s Peoria Study Group that provides hands-on opportunities.
Intangible Mindz Agriculture Development LLC is a group effort overseen by Nation of Islam member Brother Dwayne 8X. Their goal is to source healthy food that is in short supply on Peoria’s south side while providing work opportunities for locals.
By helping the community raise its own produce, the business hopes to spur the community toward self-sufficiency, a tenet of former Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad's "do-for-self’ work ethic, as the article explains.
“What I am trying to do with Intangible Mindz is I want to work the Muhammad Economic Blueprint to where we can buy some land, and through people who have gone through the apprenticeship program, to be able to work that land for the people,” Dwayne 8X told The Final Call.
Intangible Minds is now in its second year and boasts 130 vegetable bed gardens, according to the article.