Organizers hope the event is the first of many to come.

“I think it is important because it goes beyond business,” said Rebeca Jackson, one of the event’s co-founders. “Often times when people look at businesses or entrepreneurs, they only see that brand. It supports their family. It supports their kids. Their goals, their dreams.”

At least 20 vendors had the chance to showcase what they had to offer.

Recently-published author Niel Fulmore Smith was among them. His latest poetry book focuses on culture and his own experiences.

He said the exposure from an event like this is essential because of the challenges many authors face when just getting published.

“Between white vendors in Florence and white small business owners, they’re kind of dominating everywhere. So when we start our businesses, often times we don’t have the money to get exposed out there. We don’t have the resources or the networking opportunities,” said Smith.

Organizers are looking to make this expo bigger next year, with plans to talk to the City of Florence about bringing more of the community together