LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Chelsea Ellis is a third-generation owner of JD Reynolds, a business involved in asphalt and sealing, among other petrochemical applications.

What You Need To Know

  • New options to help Black contactors

  • Buy Black Louisville was created in 2019

  • The network is free for contractors and employers

  • The website connects Black contractors with potential customers


She tells me finding jobs to bid on hasn’t always been easy.

"In the past, I've definitely had moments where I felt like systems in place for Black contractors to get jobs and bid on them haven't been equal,” Ellis said.

Ellis has found social media to be a valuable resource to expand her business. The Facebook page Buy Black Lou and the website blackcontractorsnetwork.com seek to help Black contractors enlarge their base of potential customers. Currently, with nearly 29,000 members, these sites have grown in popularity. Each is the brainchild of Tanika Bryant.

Bryant said she hopes, “Contractors and organizations can meet without the hassle of trying to find each other, and, you know, get connections to each other. We’ve done the ground work, pretty much the basic work, so they just have to go in, sign up, and connect with each other.”

Ellis believes in the benefit of the network.

“It connects two different groups someone who may be looking for minority contractors as well minority contractors who want bigger jobs or more things to be able to bid on," Ellis said. "It connects, it makes it easier for us to work together,” she added 

Bryant explained to me exactly how the process works.

"Once you click “contractors network website is free to users, and was also awarded a $50,000 grant from Louisville Forward.