MILWAUKEE — People were getting the holiday weekend started early at Summerfest on Friday.
For one Milwaukee woman, this year is proving to be an economic bonus. She says coming to the Big Gig gives her brick and mortar store a boost.
Shopping on the Summerfest grounds, you have your pick if you want to support local businesses.
Lilo Allen is the owner of Papyrus and Charms. She is one of nine minority owned businesses at Summerfest. The BMO EMpower Grant Program helped nine small business minority owners with funding to support their work at the Big Gig.
She made almost all the jewelry and crafts at her Summerfest display.
"It wasn't made by a machine, it was made by me," she said.
She says her dad lives in Jamaica and inspired her talent for crafting. She also sells colorful cross-body purses her dad crafted.
"I got my love for what I do from him," Allen shared.
She is promoting and supporting local vendors whenever she can.
"The difference between shopping a big box store and shopping local is we benefit immediately," she said.
The BMO EMpower grant program at Summerfest was launched in 2021 to address challenges faced by minority-owned businesses.
You can find Allen and her display at Summerfest!