Black-Owned Business Resilience in the Face of Challenges
A few of our favorite Black-owned businesses in each of our U.S. cities
August 13, 2020
8 Min Read
Blueground was founded with a vision of making people feel at home wherever they choose to live. From our employees and guests to the cities we operate in, we stand for communities that support acceptance, recognition and respect for any and all that live, work, or set up shop there. That’s why we’re proud to commemorate the 14th annual National Black Business Month (NBBM) this August — a time to recognize and celebrate the importance of African-American businesses to the Black community, as well as their halo effect on the betterment of our national economy. 2020 is a standout year in its importance to National Black Business Month. It was a watershed moment for putting the spotlight on the racial inequality that has plagued the nation for so long. Simultaneous to this, the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, the disproportionate impact of which unfortunately falls on our Black communities. Prior to the pandemic, minority-owned businesses that make up to 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. In fact, according to a recent poll commissioned by Groupon and the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) that surveyed (Jul, 2020) more than 400 Black business owners:
76% said COVID-19 has negatively impacted their business
95% said they had not received a Paycheck Protection Program loan
80% said they faced more challenges launching their businesses due to their race
Nearly 60% reported experiencing some form of racism or bias when starting their business
50% said that the government stood in their way when it came to opening their businesses
Approximately 75% said that they’ve had fewer chances to set up a successful business due to a lack of capital investment & resources
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. While the increase in business has been welcome in the wake of the pandemic, we know more must be done in supporting the more than 2 million Black-owned US businesses at a time when they need us the most.
Our commitment to our guests means supporting the cities they call home during their stay. For us, that starts at a local level by continually supporting the small businesses that keep our cities and guests thriving. As part of our ongoing effort to celebrate these local businesses, we are proud to share with you a few of our favorite Black-owned businesses that you can help support in a Blueground city near you.
Our favorite Black-owned businesses in NYC
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.
Fitness: Enjoy a fresh approach to the wellness mindset with HealHaus’s joint wellness space and cafe. With what seems like stress coming from all directions these past few months, head over to the Clinton Hill space in Brooklyn and choose from healing services, daily group classes, specialized workshops, live yoga events, and even private practitioner rooms for individual sessions.
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
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.
Art: 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. 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
Bookstore: 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 among many others. 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.
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
Soul Food Restaurant: Keith’s Chicken N Waffles: Ever heard Snoop Dogg saying “Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles” in one of his songs? Well, that prompted a chicken and waffle expedition across the country to learn the best recipes and tips so founder Keith could perfect his San Francisco joint, Keith’s Chicken N Waffles. With every year, the chicken seasoning recipe gets better while every item on the menu goes through a careful review process on the road to perfection.
Mental Health | Home Decor: At a time when our stress levels are particularly high, we can all enjoy aroma-driven brand enhancers to destress our homes and enhance our daily moods. Scent & Fire Candle Company is an SF-based all-natural candle brand that beautifies spaces inside and outside our homes, all the while using recyclable and eco-friendly packaging.
Bowling: Guests of the Mission Bowling Club enjoy elevated comfort food from a versatile menu that features locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients. And when you’re not indulging, make sure you and your friends compete for a few frames on one of their six bowling lanes.
Our favorite Black-owned businesses in Washington, DC
Boxing:What happens when you put music, boxing and community together? You get a new experience in fitness — BOOMBOX. 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.
Food: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
Skincare:Brown and Coconut skin care is a special concoction of powerful plants, botanical extracts & clays that create effective blends for our skin’s ideal balance. 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.
Fitness: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
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.
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.
Bookstore: 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 with a mission is to foster a space for people to build and learn through thoughtful interactions & knowledge sharing.
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. 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 Blueground apartment that’s fit for you, stay a while, and enjoy your time as our guest.