Black-owned businesses celebrate Juneteenth in downtown Albuquerque

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – For this year’s Juneteenth celebrations, the City of Albuquerque brought together several Black-owned businesses.

Aleitress Smith owner of Aleitress Moblie Restroom said she took a leap of faith last year to start a new business venture.

“So I had to close one business down during the pandemic unfortunately, but it really gave me like the opportunity to be a serious entrepreneur and really try to come up with a different concept,” Smith said. 

Her different concept is mobile upscale restrooms that people can rent out for events. At today’s Juneteenth celebration, she says they were a big hit.

“So we started off doing parks and different things and skating outside, and we kind of moved going to be mobile and setting up our roller skating rink at different places, and doing these types of fun events,” said Malcom Shelby owner of Throwbacks Mobile Skating. 

Just like Smith, Shelby created a now booming business during the pandemic. He was a full time banker looking for something fun to do when everything was shut down, so he made his own mobile skating rink that is now his full time business. 

They say representing their community year round as business owners is even more rewarding. 

“You know, it’s been a really great thing as a Black business owner because I’ve got a lot of reactions from young children who are not always exposed to a business owner that looks like them,” said Shelby. 

Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans after the Civil War. This year’s theme was healing and unification, and celebrations will be going on until 8 p.m. at Civic Plaza.