The Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau recently launched Chapel Hill Diversity, a digital resource intending to support and promote businesses owned by people of color in Orange County.
A committee of both Visitors Bureau board members and local business owners worked together to research ownership of local businesses, gather stories about entrepreneurs of color and develop the website.
Community resources for businesses owned by people of color not only connect locals with these businesses but can connect visitors and students with a sense of belonging, said Spring Council, owner and operator of Mama Dip’s Kitchen and a member of the committee.
“It lets people know that yes, this is a diverse community and this is where you can come and get the resources you need to find the particular businesses that you’re looking for," Council said.
Council also said the website is intended to provide culture-specific services for people of color who are students or visitors of Orange County.
“Making sure other minority businesses are known as well is what got me involved,” she said.
Laurie Paolicelli, the executive director of the Visitors Bureau, said the initiative to create the website came from an increased desire to see more representation of people of color identities in the bureau’s promotion of local businesses.
“During COVID, diverse members of our board asked if we could start a committee to look at including more diversity in our tourism materials because it’s the right thing to do," Paolicelli said.
Paolicelli said she and the rest of the committee decided to undertake the project after receiving feedback from the National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals that the Visit Chapel Hill website lacked adequate representation of people of color.