FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Black history month is a time to celebrate black culture, however, it’s also a time to reflect and bring additional awareness.

Jasmine Hudson and J’Aaron Merchant are the co-founders of Black-Owned Northwest Arkansas, a Facebook page they initially created as almost a black business directory. Today though it has evolved into so much more.

“Now it is turning into more of an organization that we are really helping from a business development standpoint on education and awareness,” says Hudson and Merchant.

One of the businesses I connected with from Black-Owned Northwest Arkansas is ELXR Yoga Lounge, located right off the Fayetteville square. Nicole Calhoun is the owner and she tells me her claim to fame are her hip-hop power yoga classes.

“The reason I opened this studio is that I want to promote my core values which are diversity and inclusion specifically in yoga,” says Calhoun, “knowing that goals and those values have been exected and loved in Northwest Arkansas is just really touching for me.

And Calhoun tells me that being a local business owner is something she holds near and dear

“It feels very uplifting and I feel very proud to be a black business owner in northwest Arkansas. I think the black community is really on the cusp of something great here in NWA and I’m really proud to be at the forefront of that,” says Calhoun.

Hudson and Merchant agree Northwest Arkansas is on the cusp of something special. “We always tell people this is a really cool place to start a business because Northwest Arkansas is huge on the community, it’s not a black-white thing they are just super focused on local,” says Hudson and Merchant.

If you are interested in supporting any of the local businesses found on Black-Owned Northwest Arkansas you can check them out on their Facebook page.