Creators of a local business magazine have expanded their impact in the community.
Minority Business Listings hosted the grand opening of its cultural center located at 15 SE Seventh St. on Friday.
“God has made all of this possible,” said Wayne Fields, CEO and founder of Minority Business Listings.
Fields welcomed the audience to a ribbon cutting ceremony while sharing his testimony and journey.
Fields described suffering a heart attack in 2018. He said was pronounced dead for 15 minutes and by God’s grace he regained consciousness and recovered.
“I am thankful to be here,” Fields said.
Fields said he was intentional in having the MBL Cultural Center in East Gainesville so the building can be accessible to minority business owners.
“We moved with a purpose and had a vision of where we wanted to be located,” Fields said.
Fields said he wanted the magazine and cultural center to continue the mission of a program he was a part of in the 1980s called CLOUT — Community Linkage for Opportunities for Unemployed Teenagers.
He said he wants MBL to offer scholarships to students and after-school programs in the facility.
“Nothing has changed since then,” Fields said. “Something like this is needed.”
Fields also thanked his writer Nick Hudson for writing all of the profiles in the magazine.
Hudson graduated from the University of Florida in December last year with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.
Hudson said he was grateful to have received a job after graduating and was glad to be able to write the stories of African-American professionals in the area.
“It was such a great way to gain experience,” Hudson said. “I was able to be immersed in the African-American culture. They accepted me and I appreciate them.”
State Rep. Yvonne Hinson, D-Gainesville, was one of the professionals featured in the magazine.
She attended the event in support of Fields’ vision to highlight minority businesses in Alachua County and the grand opening of his building.
“It’s a wonderful idea,” Hinson said. “I like that he expanded from a directory to a community magazine. He has information about professionals, fraternities, sororities and leaders in the community.”
Hinson said she hopes people will take advantage of the resources in the magazine.
“I hope people will take it to find black businesses and support them,” Hinson said.
Total Body Skin Care was one of the vendors present to showcase their business during the grand opening.
Karen Campbell and her fiancé Calvin Bell, owners of the business, were talking to attendees on what their business offers.
Campbell, a waxologist, said Total Body Skin Care was created two years ago and said she has been waxing for seven years.
“I think the magazine is a great opportunity to shed light on small businesses,” Campbell said.
Bell thanked Fields for allowing him and his fiancé to talk about their services to possible clients.
“Every small business struggles just the same,” Bell said. “To create an event like this allows people to put a face to the name.”
Linda Fields, wife of Wayne Fields, said she is excited for the opportunities the building and the magazine will offer to the community.
“We are planning to showcase local businesses here so people will know them and support them,” she said.
Fields said businesses to be showcased will range from restaurants, cosmetics, retail and more.
“We learned a lot through the pandemic,” she said. “We want to help businesses get started and remain open. We want to be a one-stop shop to help people start a business.”
Linda Fields said the magazine will be working with interns more to help them gain more experience in their careers.
“Hands-on is the best way to learn,” she said.
For more information about Minority Business Listings, visit www.mblistings.org