Culturist Union celebrates official grand opening, Juneteenth

Published: Jun. 13, 2022 at 10:45 AM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A newly opened, Black owned local coffee shop and artisan marketplace is celebrating its’ official grand opening with a Juneteenth event for the entire community.

June 19th is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Juneteenth is an opportunity to gather as a community and recognize African American culture and tradition.

Less than two months ago, Elbi Elm opened the Culturist Union in Savannah, a coffee shop and community space inspired by an iconic Black Female trailblazer.

“I really wanted creatives to have a place to gather. I did a lot of research about Madame CJ Walker, the Madame CJ Walker Culturist Union, and in that creative spirit I wanted everyone to feel seen and welcome.”

Elm said the Culturist Union offers an experience beyond a traditional coffee shop.

“It’s so much more than a coffee shop. We’re an artisan marketplace, we host 50 local African-American vendors, we champion community events, we put on events,” she said.

Elm said she could not have brought this vision to reality without the support of so many.

“When I had this idea, I partnered with Carver State Bank, the local African American bank. We also partnered with a few local investors. We wanted to create a historical reference to Black culture in Savannah.”

Culture and Community - two things that will be celebrated this Juneteenth Weekend.

“TCU was formed June 19, 2019, so in celebration of our three year anniversary, and an ode to Juneteenth, we are celebrating our grand opening that weekend.”

On Friday, the Culturist Union will host an event for the Greater Savannah Black Chamber of Commerce. “Unlocking Financial Freedom, A Juneteenth Kickoff for Black Entrepreneurs,” is free and open to the public on Friday, June 17th from 7:30 to 9 a.m.

Also on Friday, the Culturist Union will host a Grand Opening Juneteenth Soiree. The cocktail party is 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., and tickets are $50.

Lastly, on Saturday, a ribbon cutting.

“Saturday June 18th is our ribbon cutting ceremony at 9 a.m. with short remarks from Judge Tammy Stokes and other incredible important leaders in the community,” Elm said. There will also be children’s activities.

Elm hopes the events this weekend will bring together people from all walks of life to recognize the importance of Juneteenth

“Black Culture is American Culture. This is an opportunity to celebrate how far Black Culture has come. A good time to honor and pay tribute to our ancestors and where we’ve been and where we are now, and I think it’s a good celebration, celebrating who we are, what we do.”

The Culturist Union is located at 3129 Bull St. in Savannah.

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