As you, the reader, know...February Black History Month. During this month, you'll see major corporations showing their support for People of Color, promotions about how you can support the Black community, history lessons, and so on. Which are all good and necessary things.
But, of course, People of Color need our support year-round. Not just in the month of February. With that being said, there are a number of Black-owned businesses in Kalamazoo and Battle Creek that you can support right now, next month, the month after, and so on.
Now, typically when articles like this pop up encouraging the support of Black-owned businesses the inevitable argument of "don't all businesses need our support?" pops up. And the answer, obviously, is yes. Of course, small, local businesses need our support. As usual, I could give my opinions on why I personally believe it's important to support Black-owned businesses. But, instead, I'll list a few articles that go beyond just words and break down real, economic reasons why it's so important:
- Why It's Crucial to Support Black-Owned Businesses On Both Corporate, Consumer Levels
- Small Business Facts: Spotlight on Minority-Owned Employer Businesses
- Access to Capital Remains a Problem For Most Black Businesses
- 4 Reasons Why You Should Support Black-Owned Businesses
Keep in mind not all of the below-listed businesses are brick and mortar establishments that you can physically visit. But, here are at least 10 Kalamazoo and Battle Creek area Black-owned businesses you can support year-round:
1. Simply Sensational Berries
Simply Sensational Berries specializes in sweet treats whether that be cocoa bombs, customized cupcakes, or candy-coated apples like the ones pictured above. But, that's not all they do. They also create meat and cheese platters, veggies platters, and fruit platters too. See their full menu on their website or Facebook page.
2. Soul Good, LLC
Soul Good, LLC was created by Chef Deja Wilson who found her passion for cooking at age 10, according to her website. Soul Good is open every Thursday through Sunday until the food is "sould" out. Judging by the online menu, it looks like weekly meals are created which you can order through her website. You'll find meals like deep-fried catfish or oven-roasted Cornish hen and sides like 6 cheese macaroni, candied yams, collard greens, and a lot more. Find her weekly menu here or follow Soul Good, LLC on Facebook.
3. Bread & Basket, LLC
Bread & Basket acts as a marketplace for products created by Women of Color. It's an incredibly convenient way to support multiple Black-owned businesses at once. Whether you need skincare products, clothing, candles, coffees, teas...you'll find it at Bread & Basket. Open Thursday through Saturday, you can find Bread & Basket in downtown Battle Creek or shop products online. As well, you can follow Bread & Basket on Facebook to keep up with newly available products.
4. Island Style BBQ
Island Style BBQ offers a variety of Caribbean-style dishes ranging from brisket to chicken wings to Curry Channa and everything in between. According to their website, Island Style BBQ was,
born out of the love of cooking, passion to serve, and a desire to share that love through food and a dining experience that is steeped in our rich and diverse Caribbean culture, and in celebration of the Haitian, Guyanese, and American cultures of its owners.
5. Massage Green Spa
Who doesn't need a little relaxation these days? While Massage Green Spa is a brand that can be found throughout the country, the locations in Battle Creek and Kalamazoo are locally owned. They offer spa services like massages and facials at reasonable prices so everyone can treat themselves. Their motto is "a luxury everyone can afford" on their website. You can find prices and book online here or follow them on Facebook.
1. Teresa's Tailoring
According to her Facebook page, Teresa's journey began at Macy's in Battle Creek where she was the Alterations Supervisor. When Macy's closed, Teresa and her husband were able to open their own shop in Kalamazoo. Teresa specializes in fine tailoring for men, women, and children. She also does clothing repair which can help extend the life of your wardrobe. Find Teresa's contact information and more on her Facebook page.
2. Layla's Cool Pops
This impressive young woman has caught the attention of not just locals but people nationwide. Now 17 years old, Layla began her journey in the 4th grade when an economics project blossomed into a thriving bakery business. Plus, her business supports the non-profit Sweets4Homeless Initiative which aims to purchase homes for homeless families as well as provide financial support to organizations supporting the homeless in our community. Incredible. In her store, which you can also shop online, you'll find cupcakes, cookie pops, and pretzels sticks. See the offered flavors and more on their website or on Facebook.
3. Dream of Kalamazoo Hair Salon
Lalonie Willhite, the owner of Dream of Kalamazoo Hair Salon, has been in the hair business for 11+ years. She focuses on helping those who visit her salon get their hair healthy and to find hairstyles that continue to grow efficiently and effectively, according to her Facebook page. Barber services are also available. You can see all the services offered by Dream of Kalamazoo Hair Salon on their website or Facebook page.
4. Glove State Gear
Glove State Gear looks to "represents Michigan in a new way." You'll find long sleeve shirts, beanies, hoodies, crewneck sweatshirts, and a lot more, all with a Michigan theme, on their website. They have several products that represent Kalamazoo specifically. You can also see new additions to their line by following them on Facebook.
5. Twine Urban Winery by the Roché Collection
Winemaker Nicole Roché began the Roché Wine Collection in 2019 with the hopes that her wine could pay homage to the old wine while making room for something a bit more fun, according to her website. Since then, the Twine Urban Winery opened in downtown Kalamazoo offering a contemporary experience for the wine enthusiast. Twine Urban Winery has a couple of options for your experience both of which require reservations. Find their hours, details on wine tastings, and how to make reservations on their Facebook page.
If you've made it to the end of this list, thank you. But, there are so many other Black-owned businesses in our area that need our support. You can see even more from Discover Kalamazoo, Black Wall Street Kalamazoo, or find a full list of Minority-owned businesses in Calhoun County, which lists businesses by category, here.
As well, if you're interested in getting involved with supporting the Black community beyond shopping, there's a Black Lives Matter chapter serving both Kalamazoo and Battle Creek. Find more information here.