First there was the coronavirus pandemic, which has disproportionately affected communities of color — and forced businesses to temporarily close and lose necessary revenue.
Then, protests erupted around the country and here in Charlotte following the police killing of George Floyd and far too many other instances of police brutality and violence against Black Americans.
Now is the time to stand with our local Black-owned businesses. Here’s a growing list of businesses to check out or revisit, and how you can show support:
(1) Leah & Louise
Just days before Leah & Louise was set to open in Camp North End, restaurants were ordered to close for dine-in customers amid the coronavirus pandemic. Owners Greg and Subrina Collier had to pivot to add curbside, takeout, and delivery.
How to support: The best way to help is to speak out against white supremacy, police brutality and systematic racism, the Colliers say. “Being silent is racist. People need to be as loud about those things as they are about the issues,” Greg Collier says.
You can also support Leah & Louise by ordering lunch or dinner online here. The Colliers also own the Uptown Yolk in 7th Street Public Market.
[Related Agenda story: Leah & Louise, Camp North End’s first restaurant, to open March 20]
(2) BLK MRKT
Part art-gallery, part-studio collaborative, BLK MRKT connects local arts and photographers of color from its location in Camp North End.
How to support: Buy the Vibez photobook here for $25 and shop online.
“Right now art is what’s getting everyone through the pandemic and the current crisis; especially Black art. So go to our pages and websites, buy some art, book us for creative services and when you get the opportunity to promote or recommend us do so. It’s easy to always say you know Black artists and their businesses but things are different when it comes to respecting what we do,” co-owners Dammit Wesley and Sir Will told the Agenda via email.
Sharon and Cliff Freshwaters operate their namesake restaurant in the Fourth Ward tucked in a strip mall off Graham Street. Business is down about 80 percent since COVID; pre-pandemic, most of their business came from dine-in customers.
How to support: Order takeout. Call 704.503.9629 to place your order. The sales from takeout orders have kept the business afloat so far, and the Freshwaters are hopeful continued community support will allow them to reopen dine-in safely soon.
Curio, located in NoDa, offers readings and energy clearing services, spell kits, talismans, crystals and stones, C4 candles, and other ritual-related things. It’s open noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday.
How to support: Go shopping in-store, or place an online order. You can also buy a gift card if you prefer shopping in person but aren’t comfortable just yet.
Owners Jay Davis and Miketa Proctor just opened Lulu’s, located off of Tuckaseegee Road, in November. During the coronavirus pandemic, the restaurant added curbside service so you can pick-up one of the only — if not the only — true Maryland-style crab cake in Charlotte without going inside to order.
How to support: Order from LuLu’s by calling 980.498.0838.
[Related Agenda story: The best crab cake in Charlotte today, according to the son of a Chesapeake Bay waterman]
(6) Nyoni Couture
Owned by Nyoni Sioh, the luxury menswear retailer offers bespoke suits, tuxedos, shirts, shoes, and accessories. Sioh says custom suiting and made-to-order pieces are the shop’s specialty.
How to support: You can shop in store from noon to 8 p.m. or order online.
Owned by a brother-and-sister duo from Ethiopia, Abugida serves some of Charlotte’s best injera bread — spongey flatbread traditional in the East African country.
How to support: Call 980.237.2760 to order.
(8) Great Things
Traci Bullock manages the second-hand boutique on Beatties Ford Road. The store is one of Friendship Community Development Corporation’s programs. The non-profit helps Charlotteans with affordable housing, transitional living, and more.
How to support: Shop in store noon to 6 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, or online anytime. The boutique is also in need of donations — specifically housewares, hand bags, shoes, jewelry, perfumes, and women’s accessories. You can drop off your donations 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays, or during regular shopping hours.
(9) Cuzzo’s Cuisine
Owned by cousins Andarrio and Anglee, who both hail from South Carolina, this spot specializes in Southern comfort foods. The menu includes wings, lobster mac and cheese, chicken and waffles, fish, chicken tenders, shrimp, and more.
“Despite the obstacle COVID-19 has placed on small business, we are surviving,” the owners tell the Agenda.
How to support: Order online for pickup or delivery, or order takeout directly from the restaurant. If you do order at the restaurant, they encourage everyone to wear a mask. You can also find Cuzzo’s Cuisine Food Truck all over the city.
(10) What the Fries
The food truck, owned by Jamie Barnes and Greg Williams, specializes in creatively topped fries and other delicious combinations, like lobster mac and cheese fries (lobster, cavatappi pasta, boursin cheese sauce, Gouda cheese, Asiago cheese, and parsley atop hand-cut fries).
Luckily, business is picking up again for the beloved truck.
“We’ve seen a 20 percent increase in orders compared to this time last month,” Barnes says. “We’ve added locations to our schedule in neighborhoods and apartment complexes we haven’t been to before allowing new customers to discover our culinary styles and our story.”
How to support: Right now What the Fries is offering a limited menu, and you can follow the food truck on Instagram to find where it’ll be parked.
This restaurant specializes in vegan cuisine, smoothies, and juices, and you can check its Facebook for the rotating features.
How to support: Call 980.355.0075 to order takeout.
(12) Shelves Bookstore
The pop-up independent bookstore, owned by Abbigail “Abbi” Glen, opened just under a year ago. Typically, she brings her selection of books to coffee shops and other small businesses, like Enderly Coffee, Sunflour Bakery, and Pepperbox Doughnuts. Whatever she doesn’t have on hand, she can order for you.
But since coronavirus, she’s focused on e-commerce.
“Reading is so essential,” Glen says. “I’m in a position to really make a change and educate people, through books. People really are trying to better understand what’s going on. It’s beautiful.”
How to support: Order books online. You can shop Abbi’s favorites directly on the site, or you can send her your wishlist and she’ll order the books for you.
She’s also working on a list of Black literature, including books written by Black authors and resources for those who want to learn more about systemic racism.
And if you’re in a book club of five people or more, you’ll get 12 percent off your club’s books if you partner with Shelves.
(13) Worthy + Badass
Justine Wiggins, who’s also in the army reserves and works for a professional organizer, runs Worthy + Badass. The company offers jewelry, key chains, and other accessories. Pre-pandemic she set up shop at pop-ups and other events, but since large-scale gatherings have been canceled, she’s focused on her online presence.
Beyond jewelry, Wiggins also hopes to create a community around W+B.
“It’s a place for women to feel comfortable and whole,” Wiggins says. “I love walking through hard times with people and connecting them to whatever resources they may need.”
How to help: Buy products online. For now they’re sold out, but look for buttons that say “I can’t breath” coming soon. Supporting other Black-owned businesses is also important, she says.
Owned by Kia and Clarence Lyons, Popbar has handcrafted gelato, sorbetto, and yogurt pops made with natural ingredients and fun toppings.
“Covid has unfortunately hit us very hard,” Kia says. “Last Wednesday we made less than $12. The weekends are better, thank God, but our revenue is still down by 75 percent so you can imagine the bills we are NOT paying.”
How to support: “We also need the community to keep coming out and to keep supporting us,” Kia says. Stop by for a pop as often as you can.
Kia also shared her thoughts and feelings on the death of George Floyd. It’s hitting hard, she says, on top of the chaos caused by coronavirus. Supporting people of color is essential, she says.
“Send us encouraging messages and virtual hugs. We absolutely need those during this time,” Kia says.
(15) Epic Times
The watch and jewelry store located in the Epicentre Uptown is owned by James Mack. About a week after reopening, the store was looted over the weekend.
“We have to think about the long-term economic effects, especially on African-American businesses,” Mack says. “When the demonstrations are over, I’ll be dealing with the impacts for months.
“We want to be open, we want to do business. We love Charlotte. We care about what happened to our brother George Floyd, and it’s important for us to be open.”
How to support: For now, the store is closed — it could be months before its operable again. The store was also damaged during the 2016 protests, and it took months to reopen, Mack says.
After speaking with other business owners, he decided to launch a GoFundMe to help the store reopen as quickly as possible. You can donate here.
First a pandemic hits his business and now looters. James Mack says he is one of the only black-owned businesses in the Epicentre. He’s not sure what he will do from here. More tonight @SpecNewsCLT. pic.twitter.com/yomGZF8WPK
— Kari Beal (@KariBealTV) May 31, 2020
Owned by Andrea Richter, Pretty Honest specializes in handmade, natural, soy candles. Bestsellers include fresh coffee, green tea and lemongrass, eucalyptus spearmint, lavender, and honeysuckle jasmine.
How to support: Shop online and follow Pretty Honest Candles on Instagram.
(17) Da Lucky Spot
Shaun “Lucky” Corbett opened Walmart’s first Black-owned, Black-operated barbershop just a few months ago, in October 2019. You can view a full list of services here.
How to support: Visit the barbershop and get a shape up, haircut, shampoo, or other treatment.
[Related Agenda story: A Charlotte man named Lucky just opened Walmart’s first Black-owned, Black-operated barbershop]
(18) Public Interest CLT
This nostalgic thrift shop is owned by Josh Hallums and Jess McDonald, and it specializes in vintage apparel from the ’80s and ’90s.
How to support: Shop online and check out their Instagram.
(19) Slippin’ Knotz
A new small business owned by Erika Paige Henderson, Slippin’ Knotz sells chunky, hand-knitted blankets.
How to support: Buy a cozy blanket, and maybe send one to a friend, too. We all need some comfort right now.
(20) Vital Fitness
Courtney Standridge has her own personal training business and is accepting new clients. “Covid shut me down for a couple of months, and I’m blessed to say things are starting to slowly pick up again,” she said.
She works with people one-on-one to create a customized plan, combining nutrition and workouts, to meet whatever health goals they may have.
To support: Book a consultation and sign up for a plan.
Owned by Janelle & Desmen Milligan, this gourmet popcorn retailer is currently operating out of 7th Street Public Market. You can do curbside pickup noon to 4 p.m. Thursday-Sunday or order online.
To support: Place a curbside order, and follow them on Instagram for updates and specials.
S.C. McNeill opened The WashRoom in February 2016. It’s a full-service dry cleaners, currently offering free contactless pickup and delivery in Charlotte and surrounding areas. They also offer commercial services to businesses with laundry needs.
To support: Schedule a laundry pickup here.
(23) Asap Tax Express
Services include individual and business tax preparation, payroll, and bookkeeping.
To support: Make a virtual or in-person appointments by calling 704.817.7196 or visit us online.
This online pet shop has everything from collars and leashes to Panthers jerseys and portable water bowls.
To support: Spoil your dog and order online. I highly recommend the mesh car seatbelt/harness.
(25) Aromatherapy Scents
Shop for whipped body butter, soy candles, essential oils, and other body care items (wrapped in gorgeous packaging).
To support: Follow on Instagram and place an online order.
(26) Two Scoops Creamery
The beloved ice cream shop has a rotating list of ice cream flavors. Head to any of three locations (Plaza Midwood, South End, and Mooresville) and treat yourself.
To support: Go get some delicious ice cream.
(27) Quin Gwinn Studio
Quintel Gwinn is a full-service interior designer. Pre-coronavirus she worked with clients one-on-one to transform their homes, and since having to work from home, she’s launched online services, too. She now offerings virtual design consultations and other online design packages.
To support: Hire her to redesign your home, or opt for one of her new online offerings. Also, follow her Instagram for all the design inspo you’ve ever wanted.
(28) Bubbly Pups NC
This full-service dog groomer offers haircuts, baths, dental care, deshedding treatments, and other services.
To support: Book a grooming appointment for your pup.
(29) House of LeMond
A men’s clothing boutique that also sells furniture, home furnishings, art, and barware.
To support: Customers can either call (704-712-9531) or email to confirm or schedule appointments. They can also go through the store’s Facebook business page to book appointments.
(30) Skyview Dentistry
Uptown dentistry owned by Dr. Seti Byrd in the Epicenter.
To support: Call (704-632-7700) to make an appointment and learn about their services.
(31) Nostalgia Hollow Co.
(32) Black Forward Life
Handcrafted organic hair-care, skin-care, and men’s care products.
To support: Visit their website to shop for products for your self-care needs. Follow them on Instagram.
Mobile age-appropriate parties for girls ages 5-17. They travel within Charlotte and 30 miles of the Bank of America Stadium. They are currently offering custom home party packages.
A women’s clothing store online and inside South Park Mall.
Having not been able to open their doors in months, they had to close one location in Carolina Place Mall to focus on the Southpark location and online.
To support: Visit their website to shop online.
Having to close due to COVID-19 was a big hit to the Village, but they are hoping to reopen by the end of the month, with safety as the number one priority.
Parents and families can request a virtual tour and go through the enrollment process now so that once we re-open, their child(ren) can begin attending immediately! Simply fill out the Contact Us form on the website or call at 980-309-6884 to make a tour request.
To support: Like, follow, and share our business pages on Twitter, Facebook, and IG. Locals can also shop our classroom wish list on Amazon.
(36) Sweet Creations
A full-service catering company and culinary apprenticeship program. With each meal served, sustainable solutions to poverty, hunger, and homelessness are created, though the job training and social enterprise solution program.
A family-owned counseling and wellness practice that provides counseling, massage, yoga, and nutrition services to promote a better quality of life for people. In the current times we are facing, they have noticed more black people acknowledging a need for support, breaking down stigmas, and reaching out for help. Isaiah C&W is working toward being a beacon in the community to help with these conversations.
Due to COVID, they stopped their yoga and meditation classes and started using telehealth services for psychotherapy and nutrition counseling appointments.
(38) August June Desserts
Home-baked gourmet cakes and cupcakes because there is nothing better than a freshly baked dessert says owner Natosha Fleming. Everything is made from scratch and they offer nationwide shipping of cookies and brownies. Place orders via their website.
No-frills cafe serving Caribbean cuisine like jerk chicken and wings. Anntony’s also has a small patio out front its Elizabeth location. The cafe has a second location near University.
(40) Diamond Finish
The car wash and lube center offers oil changes, break services, and state inspections. The service center on Brookshire Boulevard prides itself on low prices and high integrity. Customers can get their car serviced and washed in the same visit.
(41) Detour Coffeebar
The full-service coffee shop on wheels has dozens of drinks on its menu including coffee and espresso drinks, plus teas, sodas, and smoothies for non-coffee drinkers.
Check out their schedule to grab your morning beverage of choice.
(42) Pretty Perfect Style
Stylist and jewelry designer Monica Warren offers one-of-a-kind handmade bracelets and can up you fashion game. She also offers a variety of personal styling services.
(43) Jazzy Cheesecakes
Jazzy’s serves cheesecake in every form and flavor. Owner Gerri Simmons started the business when she was a high schooler at East Mecklenburg in honor of her late uncle Jazzy.
Expect everything from classic cheesecake with strawberries to honeybun cheesecake to cheesecake stuffed apples.
(44) Charlotte Yarn
The popular shop sells all the tools creatives need plus, it offers classes. During the pandemic the shop has reduced class sizes, offered knitting kits, and private lessons.
The resume writing service and staffing agency supports workers on every level. The company can help employers find talent and future employees find work. It offers mock interviews and career counseling, and temporary staffing and permanent placement.
(46) Barefoot Kisses
Barefoot Kisses has organic, natural and handmade spices. They specialize in no-salt and low-sodium seasonings and spice blends.
The full-service coaching and training firm specializes in everything from resume writing, interview practice, biographies and cover letters to C-level executive coaching, leadership workshops and career mapping.
Want to have your business added here? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Check out @cltblackowned on Instagram. It’s a new handle that’s building a place “to support, highlight, and increase the visibility of our local black businesses and services.”
- Support the Black Lives Matter movement. Ways to help include signing petitions and making a financial donation.
- QCity Metro has a list of Black-owned restaurants with takeout options as well as a business directory.
- CharlotteFive has a list of 50 Black-owned businesses, too.
Related Agenda coverage:
- Two days, two cities, one Charlotte: My hope for my hometown in the wake of another police killing
- Why Minneapolis matters everywhere — yes, even Charlotte
- Weekend protests erupt in Charlotte in response to police killing of George Floyd