Black-owned local businesses surrounding the Philadelphia area and the outskirts are few and far between and many people aren’t aware of them. In Philadelphia, only 25.1 percent of businesses are Black-owned, according to Pew. Also in comparison to this, the Black population in Philadelphia is only 43.6 percent, calculated by the US Census Bureau.
Harriett’s Bookshop, a Black-owned business located on Girard Ave in Philadelphia, honors Harriet Tubman’s legacy. The shop’s owner, writer and educator Jeannine A. Cook, opened Harriett’s Bookshop in the midst of the pandemic and has kept it running ever since.
“Harriett’s opened in February of 2020, so it’ll be three years. We spent many months taking all of our furniture outside and building the bookshop outside, and it was grab-and-go,” Cook said.
The pandemic has put a dent in many businesses nationwide, but that didn’t stop Harriett’s from continuing to strive to be the best. Mainly, they sell books from all women artists, authors, and activists. They also host events and organize tours that relate to issues of interest to or about Black women.
“Next month we are going to be doing a trolley tour, where folks can take a trolley from Harriett’s to five different Black-women-owned businesses in the city. On Sundays in February, we will have a choir that’s going to be singing,” Cook said.
Gazing into the future, Cook said, “We are looking forward to moving into our own building and that means that we own it completely. And we are looking forward to expanding in really cool ways.”
Cook expresses that she hopes to see these improvements and gain more attraction to the bookshop.
Shugar Shack Soul Food
Another Black-owned business, located in the western suburbs of Philadelphia in Glenolden, Pennsylvania, is Shugar Shack Soul Food. Shugar Shack offers a variety of delicious options, ranging from chicken wings to fried fish. Food lovers can even order the restaurant’s specialty “Shack Boxes,” “Wing Boxes,” and their choice of dessert. In their “Shack Boxes,” there are various choices of a chicken breast platter, fried salmon, big fish, dozen shrimp, and turkey chops that all come with a side of fries. Also, their “Wing Boxes,” comes with an assortment of different flavors including, “buff-her-lo,” “sweet-her-heat,” “garlic-her-parm,” and many more. Finally, for the desserts, they have delicacies including, carrot cake, red velvet cake, peach cobbler, and more to choose from.
This takeout restaurant is family owned and its main focus is on soul food that comes from both Caribbean and southern roots. The Shugar Shack is open from Thursday to Sunday every week for a sweet kickoff to the weekend.
Karetha Cooper, manager of Shugar Shack, said the restaurant is doing well for the most part and is up to speed.
“It’s a business, it gets a little slow at times, but for the most part everything’s been good,” Cooper said.“We’re trying to go more toward being mobile because we think that it will be more beneficial to us, but as of right now we are inside of a store.”
One last business that has been helping lives and is known for its stress-relieving product is AroDough. AroDough is an online store that sells aromatherapy dough for those who want to reduce anxiety and stress.
The founder of AroDough is Morgan Reid, who is a mental health professional and operations specialist located in Philadelphia.
“I actually started AroDough for myself. I started it in 2020, and I realized just even as somebody who has an advanced degree in mental health counseling, I was still struggling to find healthy coping mechanisms that could naturally help me reduce stress and anxiety,” Reid said.
“I wanted to combine different things that I felt like really helped me, so it was aromatherapy, it was something nostalgic from the dough-like substance. It was something I could use wherever I was going,” Reid said.
The dough itself sold on the website, consists of three lovely scents including, spearmint, lavender, and creamsicle. As well as the dough, customers can also purchase mini rolling pins and mini scoops. All of the individual dough is $12 and the pins and scoops are $3 each.
AroDough has done its job to ensure that those who use it are finding ways to handle their daily life.
“I think one of my favorite aspects is being able to engage and interact with my customers and just the ability to hear their stories of resilience. I’ve had people say they have used this when they have had a panic attack. And I’ve had people say they have sat at their desk all day and needed something to do,” Reid said.
As AroDough continues to grow, there will be room for more products for customers to expect.
“We are currently working on increasing our production capacity. We’re looking to expand our market there. And we have a couple of other products in development, that are also benefiting folks in their everyday lives,” Reid said.
For more information on other Black-owned businesses in the Philadelphia and Main Line area, visit here.
1 thought on “Get to know these Black-owned businesses”
I would like to make you aware of a great minority-owned female bakery located in the 4th District Container Village Mall, at 4862, Parkside Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19131. A New Day Bakery, LLC is owned and operated by Adjoa Garrett and with the assistance of myself, Akiba Collins-her mother. It is a Southern-style bakery that specializes with a gourmet twist to bread pudding, pecan and sweet potato pies. Also, she produces a line of diabetic desserts, vegan and gluten-free pastries.
On Saturday, February 18, 2023, during the scheduled 3-day celebration of the Container Village’s “Light Up Your Heart” Love Festival (Thursday, 2/16/23 – Sunday, 2/18/23), the bakery will provide a free cupcake decoration workshop.
I hope that you might be able to attend the event and have the opportunity to meet Adjoa & myself.
B. Akiba Collins
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