Downtown’s first Black-owned business, Cotright Grocery, was established in 1954 by Otis Cotright and Willie Mae Gilbert Cotright. Originally located at 5th and Barrett Avenue, the store later moved to 4th and Nevin Avenue and carried high quality fresh groceries, as well as canned goods and household items. Otis was a leader in the community, organizing an ‘unofficial’ Black Chamber of Commerce, establishing a network of Black businesses to support each other and the next generation of entrepreneurs, and serving as councilmember. Willie Mae was an active partner in running the grocery store and member of the NAACP, Richmond Chapter. 

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