A celebration of February’s Black History Month is a time to commemorate the black culture and the pioneers that have paved the way for today’s black excellence.
While much of this lies in educating ourselves and respecting the legacy of diversity & inclusion stemming from the Black civil rights movement, now is also a time to support increased visibility and cultural acceptance when it comes to economic equality.
So why not put your money where your mouth is?
In support of this, we’re excited to offer our top picks for shopping some great Black-owned stores, shops & brands. While all small businesses were negatively impacted during the pandemic, black-owned businesses & entrepreneurs were disproportionately impacted.
So in this month of February and ongoing, we’d love to shine the spotlight on diverse businesses across all sectors, and the inspiring stories of the founders & owners behind them.
Blueground takes pride in the communities and neighborhoods across its global portfolio of homes in cities across the world.
In honor of that, here’s just a few of the great Black businesses, shops, and entrepreneurs contributing to the diverse footprint across each Blueground city in the USA.
Our favorite Black-owned businesses in NYC
1. Ice Cream
Pop culture-inspired ice-cream shop, Mikey Likes It Ice Cream, celebrates locally-sourced ingredients and has even created custom ice-cream flavors for Hilary Clinton and Jay-Z.
Head to one of its two locations in NYC (Lower East Side and Harlem), take a summer scoop (or three!) and see what’s got the nation talking, with coverage from The New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, Essence, New York Magazine and even a feature on The Food Network’s The Kitchen.
For example, the Clinton Hill space in Brooklyn and choose healing services, daily group classes, specialized workshops, live yoga events, and even private practitioner rooms for individual sessions.
3. Nursery & Garden Décor
Brooklyn-based nursery, Natty Garden, opened with a clear mission in mind: offer its customers an assortment of plants, garden decor, and landscaping services while incorporating the culture & style of the Brooklyn borough into the mix.
Our favorite Black-owned businesses in Chicago
1. Southern Comfort Food
A funky outpost with a New Orleans vibe, Ina Mae Tavern in Chicago’s Wicker Park features chef-driven fare, live music & specialty retail products.
Drop by for outdoor seating or take-out, and enjoy some Southern charm in Chicago.
What started as a trip to Mali and Guinea in West Africa turned into the inspiration for Faie Afrikan Art — a Chicago art gallery home to memorable pieces from the Western, Eastern, Central, and Southern regions of Africa.
Above all, through artist events and product spotlights, Faie takes pride in showcasing art you’d find in a museum or private collection and bringing it to wider audiences.
Our favorite Black-owned businesses in Los Angeles, CA
Eso Won — meaning “water over rocks” — is perhaps the most well-known black-owned bookstore in Los Angeles, having hosted author events that have featured Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, Maya Angelou, and many others.
All in all, given a surge in demand for books about race & anti-racism, the team can’t keep up with its online orders or visitors. Just ask California’s Governor Gavin Newsom who stopped by recently to buy a few educational books for his kids.
2. Historical Institution
The city’s first segregated fire station, Fire Station No. 30, was built in 1913 and reopened in 1997 as the home of the African American Firefighter Museum. The two-story museum includes original poles and a vintage hose cart from 1890, as well as photos and news clippings, helmets, badges, vintage uniforms, and more.
Our favorite Black-owned businesses in San Francisco
Founded with a vision to inspire and empower their community, Boombox’s co-founders Reggie and Angela also want to highlight the benefits of boxing-inspired workouts to a wide and diverse audience.
Cane’s name harkens back to the sugar cane fields where thousands of enslaved Africans struggled during British rule in Trinidad.
From this tragedy, Chef Prime has conjured a menu that additionally features Spanish, French, East Asian, and Indian flavors. Cane was named a Bib Gourmand in the 2020 Michelin Guide for DC.
Our favorite Black-owned businesses in Boston
Brown and Coconut skincare is a special concoction of powerful plants, botanical extracts & clays that create effective blends for our skin’s ideal balance.
Overall, founded by two Boston-based sisters who have suffered from acne and eczema, these healthy skin products are safe for your skin, gentle in tackling our toughest ailments, and just feel great on our skin.
Flow –an approach that allows fluidity in customizing the system to meet individual training needs — combined with mental training make up the inspirational elements that led to 13th Flow Performance System.
So put your mind and body to work, and let’s get sweating in Boston (online training programs also available for folks around the country).
Our favorite Black-owned businesses in Seattle
1. Sauna Lounge
Did you know that infrared saunas using heat and infrared light waves to heat the body deeply are 7 times more efficient at releasing toxins than traditional saunas?
Ok, neither did we!
Check out Seattle’s City Sweats sauna lounge and discover the health benefits of sweating it out with treatments for stress management, skin health, weight loss & pain management. Explore treatments like stress management, skin benefits, weight, and pain management.
2. Farm & Herbs
This black-owned pepper and spice farm knows to bring hot, new fresh flavors to your kitchen.
Herban Farms, an urban farm in North Seattle that grows all of its herbs and peppers by hand, was founded by Ras Levy Peynado — the son of a market craftsperson and a Jamaican fourth-generation farmer.
So visit Seattle’s Pike Place Market or jump online and order yourself some Hot Honey Sauce or a ‘Scorpion Reaper’ if you feel adventurous.
If you love books, love people and love social justice, we’ve discovered the perfect hang-out spot for you. Estelita’s Library is a justice-focused community library and bookstore. Its mission is to foster a space for people to build and learn through thoughtful interactions & knowledge sharing.
Our favorite Black-owned businesses in Austin
1. Postpartum Subscription Boxes
After Marsha Stephanson – U.S. Air Force Veteran, degreed HR professional, busy wife, and entrepreneur – gave birth to her first baby, she realized that all the preparation leading up to the pregnancy wasn’t nearly at the level of emotional, physical and spiritual care she needed into her postpartum journey. She never wanted other new moms to feel alone and started Cater to Mom.
All in all, the #1 Postpartum Care Subscription Box for Moms. The gift boxes include all the essentials including recovery/self-care products, bath and beauty goods, healthy snacks, postpartum care resources, and so much more!
2. Personal Training
Sacrifice Training is an athletic performance facility founded by owner Bryson Tucker after he returned from playing for the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League. Operated by an educated & awarded staff of former athletes, the Sacrifice Training facility offers unique opportunities to young athletes to focus on strength, power & speed development through flexible membership packages that suit all levels.
We hope this curated list of just some of the trailblazing black-owned businesses out there sheds a much-needed spotlight on their larger missions, products & benefits.
On a positive note, 3 out of 4 Black small businesses have seen an uptick in customers since the beginning of June, with a majority more proud than ever to be a Black business owner.
Also, simultaneous to this, the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, the disproportionate impact of which unfortunately falls on our Black communities.
All in all, prior to the pandemic, minority-owned businesses that makeup up 37% of all US businesses already faced significant challenges in starting, running, and growing their companies (source: Facebook for Business).
But since the onset of COVID-19, the environment in which black and brown businesses operate has only become more challenged.
All in all, our local communities are the backbones of our cities around the country, and we are all about encouraging you to both #ShowUpStayIn through online support, or #ShowUpStartLiving by visiting their brick and mortar locations in a Blueground city near you.
So visit our site to book a furnished apartment that’s fit for you, stay awhile, and enjoy your time as our guest.