Since the killing of George Floyd, a national movement has begun. With our small business being in the heart of Minneapolis, we continue to experience a number of emotions. We do know that we are immensely proud of our city and how we continue to come together to create change, lift each other up and educate one another around the Black Lives Matter Movement. It’s truly inspirational and one of the reasons why our post today is centered around Black-owned small businesses.
We’ve consistently felt this pull to do something, to make change and to build connections. The mission of our business has always been simple… to use our skills to help passionate people transform their business or hobbies into something big and badass. Through all of this, we realized that by not being more specific in who we are serving, we weren’t doing our part to be anti-racist and ensure that we are truly creating a social and economic change in our own small business community. We now know that our privilege may continue to pull us into a community where diversity is sparse.
So, how do we change? How do we shift our mindset and our approach to ensure we are reaching not only a diverse audience, but an audience of Black-owned small businesses? Even those right here in Minnesota? It starts with us. We can’t expect to be approached by any entrepreneur or small business owner. It’s all about who we connect with and attract through our content. We know there are so many ways to create change and we plan to continue on this journey for as long as it takes.
One of our first steps to create change in our business is through content creation. We realized that although our content is built FOR YOU, we don’t have a dedicated space to celebrate YOU and all you’ve done. So our plan is to incorporate more of our community into this business. Whether it be our blog, our social media channels or in your inbox, we want to hero your faces and businesses in order to drive awareness and support for the brands we know you worked so hard to build!
In our first community post, we felt it was our duty to share with you some of the amazing Black-owned small businesses right here in Minnesota. There is a wonderful article that has been published by Mpls St. Paul Magazine that already lists dozens of businesses you should be supporting by category. Our goal with these posts is to dive even deeper. We want to share the heart and soul behind these businesses, what makes them special and give you actionable ways to support them now.
Here are the stories behind five Black-owned small businesses in Minnesota
El Norte Kitchen is a family-run pop up restaurant serving southwestern comfort foods. The second we landed on their website our mouths instantly started to water. We want to know how we can get this pop up kitchen to pop up in our own backyard! 😜
Chef Ben, Tricia and Elijah (click those links to read their fun Instagram bios!) make up the family of El Norte. Want to know the secret behind the name? Tricia actually came up with it because it’s the perfect combination between the love all Minnesotans have for the North Shore and the culinary inspiration coming from the Northern region of Mexico. Genius!
After seeing their food and hearing their story, we are sure that everyone is ready to run and support them. However, due to COVID guidelines, they are not currently coordinating any pop up events. So while we patiently await to sample this amazing food, here are a few ways you can support El Norte right now:
- If you know of a commercial kitchen space that is available for rent reach out! That is the best way for them to get back in business since they don’t have a brick and mortar location.
- Join their newsletter and follow them on Instagram and Facebook
- Continue the fight for social justice. Check out this Instagram post for a handful of ways to help including being knowledgeable about where you put your dollars. For example, stop supporting companies with racist agendas (do the research!) and put your dollars towards Immigrant and Black-owned small businesses.
El Norte, our taste buds will be anxiously awaiting your next pop up event!
2. Junita’s Jar
Junita’s story is one for the heartstrings. She is a survivor of domestic abuse and found hope and strength in baking these recipes from her childhood. She has built a business designed to create a better life for not only her family, but for all women and to help rid the world of domestic violence. In fact, a portion of her profits are donated to support these education and awareness initiatives. She truly does bake hope into every single cookie!
What are some ways you can support Junita, her company’s mission plus get some delicious cookies in your belly?
- Follow her on Instagram and Facebook. Not only that, but truly engage through sharing her posts and participating in her giveaways.
- Buy these delicious cookies, throw a gift card in your next birthday present or snag a t-shirt.
- After you buy, write a review or share on social media. It’s important to remember that our support doesn’t end after a purchase is made!
The ambiance of Cobble Social House most definitely cannot be beat. Maybe it’s because we’ve been cooped up inside for months, but a nice glass of wine here would be heavenly! And thankfully, they are back with temporary hours. Check out their Instagram for more information on when they are open.
Joe Clark is the genius behind this multi-concept wine bar and we thank him for his vision! Positioned in the North Loop, Joe wanted this to be more than just a wine bar. He created a unique retail space as well. Almost everything inside the bar, from glassware to furniture, is for sale with many featuring local artists.
If you aren’t ready to escape quarantine quite yet, here are a few more ways to support Cobble Social House:
- Donate: Joe is currently taking donations and distributing to relief programs in South Minneapolis. See his Instagram post for more information on how to donate.
- Buy a gift card: Keep in mind that many of these businesses we are featuring are navigating new waters in regards to COVID guidelines. Not to mention the massive amounts of press and awareness supporting Black-owned small businesses. All of this is great, but it’s important to remember that our support cannot be a one and done purchase. The best way to show your support is to invest now and continue to visit for years to come.
4. Arway Bags
Arway, pronounced Ah-way, means beautiful in KRU, a local language found in Liberia. The name couldn’t be more perfect for these bags… they truly are a beautiful work of art! What makes these bags unique? The staff at Arway Bags travel around West Africa to handpick cloths, skins, and wood that go into making these bags and accessories. They even buy skins directly from local hunters.
If there is one thing we love about supporting local small businesses, it’s supporting businesses like this with such a strong mission! You can read so much more on their website about how they design and create these bags along with the stories behind each collection.
Right now, we know you are all itching to travel the world to your next bucket list destination. One of our favorite things to do when traveling is to buy local products to bring back home. A global pandemic certainly put most of our travels on hold, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still find those perfect souvenirs like this! So how can you support Arway Bags?
- Buy your next souvenir! Shop their collections online anytime.
- Follow Arway Bags on Instagram and Facebook and stay posted on when you can visit their next pop up shop.
One of the most important things we’ve learned over the past few weeks is that the lack of economic power is one of the main reasons we have a racist system. We believe that driving education, awareness and supporting these Black-owned small businesses in these ways will truly make a difference in creating change.
You’ve probably thought about hand sanitizer more in the last few months than you ever have in your life! But did you ever consider that your hand sanitizer could do more? Sylvia Andrews created Safesha to do just that – create a hand sanitizer that is clean, natural, wonderfully scented and even keeps your skin moisturized! Sign us up!
After talking with Sylvia, we absolutely loved her suggestions on things to consider when supporting Black-owned small businesses. See us. Support us. Recommend us. And that is just what we want to do! What are some other ways you can support this amazing woman-owned business?
- Shop her products online or any of these local retailers.
- Quick note: the lavender products are indeed available although the website doesn’t reflect this. The website is going through a redesign so be sure to contact Sylvia if you are having issues ordering.
- Follow Safesha on Facebook and Instagram and listen to her suggestions… share her posts and recommend her product and brand to your family and friends!
There you have it, five Black-owned small businesses in Minnesota from the food you eat to the beauty products you buy!
Sharing these stories of passionate small businesses and driven entrepreneurs from our local community is something we don’t plan on stopping. We know firsthand how difficult it is to start a business and what these five businesses have built is an inspiration for us. We hope you take our suggestions above and even if you cannot support these businesses with your wallets, you support them with your voice.
Stay tuned for more from our local community – we don’t plan to stop sharing these amazing Black-owned small businesses anytime soon! In fact, we already have our next group on deck.
Looking for more content? Don’t forget to check out our post on our top ten small business marketing tips.