Like many grand plans, it came to Paul Wellington in the shower.

“It just popped into my head. ‘Why isn’t there an app that can tell me where black-owned businesses and organizations are in the city?’” Wellington, a local librarian and author, said.

Wellington called his old friend Rick Banks to tell him about his idea, and the two joined forces to form MKE Black, a smartphone app and more. The mission of MKE Black is to showcase and promote black establishments in the city. Right now, the two do so by sharing news articles on their Facebook page and creating an app where users can access a database of businesses, organizations, events and more. The app is already available for download from the Google Play Store and will be available on the Apple app store soon.

Similar apps exist, but many struggle to stay current and only include brick and mortar businesses. Wellington sought to improve that standard. For the past few months, he has compiled a list of approximately 250 black-owned restaurants, shops, nonprofits, e-stores and more through research and public submissions.

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