How to support Black-owned businesses in Charlotte

How to support Black-owned businesses in Charlotte
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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.

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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]

greg collier leah and louise

(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.

(3) Freshwaters

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.

(4) Curio, Craft & Conjure

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.

(5) LuLu’s Maryland Style Chicken & Seafood

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]

lulus owners

Courtesy of Alvin C. Jacobs

(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.

(7) Abugida

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.

Abugida Ethiopian Restaurant Central Avenue Veggie Platter

Abugida’s vegetarian feast.

(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.

What the Fries hot fries courtesy image

Hot fries from What the Fries. (Courtesy of What the Fries)

(11) Veltree

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.

(14) Popbar

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.

(16) Pretty Honest Candles

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]

Shaun Corbett portrait

(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.

(21) It’s Poppin! Gourmet Kettle Korn

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.

(22) The WashRoom Laundry Service

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.

(24) Small Pawland Online Pet Store

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.

A gift shop/coffee shop in Kannapolis, NC. Though they are not physically in Charlotte, you can find them at Front Porch Sunday’s and Small Business Saturday.
To support: Buy locally made gifts in their marketplace, and stop in to grab a cup of coffee and a Kronut by Sugarrmann. Find them on Facebook, for updates on events for the community.

(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.

(33) Sugar and Spice Party Bus

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.

“Under normal circumstances, we host celebrations on our sweet pink bus, but due to the pandemic and social distancing, we have been unable to use our bus for parties,” says owner Joi Kennedy. This pandemic has challenged our service-based business to create a product for our community, the home activity kits. They plan to resume bus parties shortly after phase 3 of North Carolina reopening but will have to make changes in our capacities and procedures.
To support: Buy an at-home activity kit for one or two people. Kids can make their own lip-gloss or paint a fun design at home! A fun activity for kids, friends, and even parents. Visit their website to place an order.

(34) Captivate

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. 

(35) The Village Child Development Center, LLC

A full-day bilingual program. The Village is a family child care home that serves students between 6 weeks and 12 years in a Spanish-English format.

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.

To support: Order from their curbside cafe every Wednesday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for pick up. Find them on Instagram and Facebook.

(37) Isaiah Counseling and Wellness 

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.

To support: Make an appointment to create a nutrition plan or need someone to talk to about how you are feeling mentally. Follow them on Instagram and Facebook.

(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.

To support: PLace an order for a beautiful custom cake or cupcakes for your next event, birthday party, or celebration. Follow them on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.

(39) Anntony’s Caribbean Cafe

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.

Detour Coffeebar owner

Detour Coffeebar owner Mike Hargett. (Courtesy Detour Coffeebar)

(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.

(Courtesy Monica Warren)

(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.


Want to have your business added here? Email us at hi@charlotteagenda.com.

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