One of the most momentous changes we’ve seen in the past year has been a powerful anti-racism shift that has evolved and transformed into what some scholars and activists call “a new civil rights movement”. And while countless news outlets have broken down the meanings behind the movement - the peaceful protests, the activism in cities around the nation, we have noticed something extra special happening at home. Philly’s Black-owned businesses are not only gaining attention but a snowball of support and encouragement to grow and thrive.
There are countless Black-owned and operated businesses in the city, and we spent #blackhistorymonth on our Instagram showcasing just a few of the businesses that champion and promote the Black and Brown communities in the Greater Philadelphia area. We also wanted to share how these businesses have taken life in the pandemic and pivoted in a positive manner. We couldn’t help but notice, so here are a few of those highlights that should catch your attention too.
The Enterprise Center is an organization dedicated to growth and inclusion supporting minority entrepreneurs and under-resourced communities spanning more than three decades. When the neighborhood businesses were impacted by some of the riots over the summer, The Enterprise Center worked tirelessly to help clean up and help businesses seek relief funds.
At the epicenter of Northern Liberties, Fishtown, and Olde Kensington, Cultivated Bohemians opened their doors in the summer of 2020. But, despite launching in the midst of a pandemic, they've been filling our homes with gorgeous botanical products and house plants to make the world a little more beautiful. This #blackownedbusiness hosts pop-up shops with other small-business owners, helping to further uplift the community.
Looking to go green while supporting Black-owned businesses? Look no further than Grant BLVD - a sustainably sourced, ethical Philadelphia brand that supports incarcerated and returning citizens. Grant BLVD is all about reducing waste and creating jobs, avoiding carbon, and practicing radical inclusivity. From fashion-forward face masks to hand-dyed attire, Grant BLVD is all about looking good while doing good, even in the midst of a pandemic.
What started as a group of some buddies and some resistance bands at the Rocky Steps in 2014 has evolved into one of the city's premier fitness studios, Fit Academy! Owner Osayi Osunde doesn't just talk the talk, he joins his clients on the steps or in the Brewerytown studio in sweating and connecting, building a dynamic program from the ground up. Over the course of the pandemic, they popped up with outdoor classes all over the city, keeping their clients moving and grooving on the good.
Entrepreneurship in Philadelphia isn't limited by age. Point in case? Micah Harrigan, the 10 year-old self-proclaimed "kidtrepreneur" of Micah’s Mixx who serves up lemonades and teas all around Philadelphia. He started his business when he was 8 and has blown us away with his work ethic, especially over the past year. From corner store pop-ups to his own mini-bus he plans on transforming into a food truck. He's got a GoFundMe going to help raise the last bit of the money for anyone looking to help launch this Black-owned business!
While there's a lot that's changed about the beauty and wellness industry, we'd have to say that the shift towards more inclusive products, while slow, might be one of the best. Locally, Marsh + Mane has been at the forefront of offering natural hair & wellness products for women of color in Philadelphia and beyond since they opened in early 2019. Owner Jenea Robinson created a space for beauty supplies that women and men actually look forward to visiting, and Society Hill's Marsh & Mane truly fits the bill. In the early days of the pandemic they offered curbside pickup for shoppers, and this #blackownedbusiness has been instrumental in amplifying the voice of civil rights activists and opportunities near and far.
Sure, Philadelphia is home to some of the best restaurants in the world, but there are large sections of the city considered 'food deserts'. The F.U.N. Kitchen is a plant-based food company looking to feed the community from their neighborhood kitchen in Kensington. Founded by Rai Lewis, the F.U.N. Kitchen has spent much of the past year popping up to help feed those struck hardest by the pandemic, and we can’t wait to visit their vegan food truck and outdoor dining space in the heart of Kensington when it launches.
When it comes to being "in the know" about what's happening in Philly, Wooder Ice is truly a one-stop-shop. Founded by Hector Nuñez as Philly's only "blogazine", this media group has a booming presence on IG, newsstands, YouTube, Facebook, the radio, and the podcast world. They not only highlight major happenings in and around the city, they interview small business owners, amplify BIPOC creators in the city, and consistently celebrate the city's Black-owned businesses.
If you're not familiar with the concept of Period Poverty, it refers to the inadequate access to menstrual hygiene tools and education, and it's a major issue in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, it's also a somewhat stigmatized issue, and #blackownedbusiness No More Secrets has been hard at work in Philadelphia for years de-stigmatizing and supporting the community of women experiencing Period Poverty. Their efforts during the pandemic have been especially impactful, and they recently opened the nation's first menstrual hub in Germantown, offering resources, education, and products for anyone who needs it.
These are but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to inspiring Black-owned and operated businesses in the greater Philadelphia area, and we encourage you to continue to supporting them and others every month, not JUST February!