LUZERNE COUNTY, Pa. — Right in the middle of a pandemic, April Martinborough decided to take a risk. The hair stylist who also goes by the name "Real" opened Real by Nature Salon in Taylor almost two years ago.
"I think that was a big part of why I did make the decision. I was like, 'Hey, everything is crazy right now. I might as well open my business,'" said Martinborough.
Daniel Valentin quit his 9-to-5 job during the pandemic and opened up his own photography studio in Wilkes-Barre within the last year.
"It needed to happen. I had it on my mind for years."
And it was a year ago that Tyneshia Cullars learned how to make candles shaped like food and drink and opened her business, Creative Cullars. She sells everything on social media, so getting the chance to show off her stuff at the first NEPA Black Owned Business Expo last year was a big deal.
"A reporter came over, so I was on the news for the first time. I met so many different people. So many of them invited me to some of the events they're hosting, so it really meant a lot to me."
That's why she, Daniel, and Real came back for round two this year.
Janiece Montes organized the event. She also owns her own small biz, Janiece's Purse Collection.
"I started online, so there wasn't a really big market outside of pop-up events. So I decided, why not put a whole expo together and spotlight everybody's business?" Montes said.
"We get to network with other vendors. We get to inspire other possible business owners," Martinborough said.
And they can give back. Daniel Valentin is offering $25 headshots all weekend at the expo.
"There's a lot of new business owners that are getting into business that don't have headshots. It's one of the key points of having a business, so why not start here?" Valentin said.
The NEPA Black Owned Business Expo is Saturday and Sunday at Mohegan Sun Pocono from noon to 7 p.m.
Everyone is invited to come and shop and meet the business owners.
Check out WNEP’s YouTube channel.