Spend 24 Hours Supporting Black-Owned Businesses
Explore the Queen City while also supporting Black-owned businesses along the way.
by DeAnna Taylor
Per a COVID-19-related Mecklenburg County health directive issued Jan. 12, 2021, please note that some businesses may have modified their hours of operation and changed procedures in order to comply with CDC and Mecklenburg County Health Department guidelines. Please wear a mask, limit any non-essential activities and refrain from gathering with anyone outside of your household.
The powerful “Black Lives Matter” movement is more important than ever. If you’re looking to contribute on a local level, Charlotte has a variety of Black-owned businesses – ranging from Curio, Craft & Conjure, a supplier of personalized magickal supplies to LuLu’s Maryland Style Chicken & Seafood, known for having “The Best Crab Cake in Charlotte.” Whether you’re a visitor or a local looking to explore, here’s a 24-hour guide on how to support Black-owned businesses in the Queen City now, and always.
If you need caffeine to get your day started, stop by Cynthia’s Coffee Cup for your favorite morning pick-me-up. The shop offers an assortment of hot and cold drinks as well as pastries. Or stock up on local coffee or espresso beans from Coffee Cone Cafe’s online store to make at home. While you’re at it, try their locally made loose leaf tea, body butter and candles. Before you really indulge in breakfast or brunch, work up an appetite at a group fitness class led by owner and certified personal trainer, Taylor Calamese at Charlotte Fit.
Now that you have earned your breakfast, head to Uptown Yolk in 7th Street Public Market for a plate of chicken and waffles from James Beard-nominated chef Greg Collier. If you want to stay on the lighter side, pick up a smoothie from Juice Box, an all-natural juice bar and wellness shop in NoDa, or try the “Fight the Power” smoothie from Hip Hop Smoothies in the Mountain Island area.
Learn about Black history in Charlotte and in the nation by visiting (or virtually exploring) the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, which was named after Harvey B. Gantt, Charlotte’s first African American mayor and a leader advocating for equity and equal rights. For the innovators and creatives, make your way to Camp North End to check out Dupp & Swat, a studio that provides a platform for artists and a local shop for the community, and BLK MRKT CLT, a studio and gallery focusing on developing emerging artists. Both workshops feature and sell pieces from local Black artists and often host events. Next, rent an e-bike from Charlotte Joy Rides or E-Trek’n, and take a self-guided tour through the 15th largest city in the nation.
As lunchtime approaches, the possibilities are endless. Try one of the many food trucks parked around Charlotte. A few suggestions are: Another!? Food Truck (nostalgic Southern and Northeastern dishes with a twist), What The Fries (loaded fries, burgers and chicken sandwiches), VeGo Togo (vegan comfort food on-the-go) or Ace of Spuds (loaded baked potatoes). Or sit back and relax with the Supreme Steak hoagie in hand at one of Charlotte’s longtime Black-owned eateries, Sub One Hoagie House.
There’s always time for retail therapy. For women’s clothing, you’ll want to check out Captivate in SouthPark Mall, Kimberly’s Boutique in South End, and Five13 Studio also in South End. For upscale men’s fashion and tailoring, Nyoni Couture and William Wilson Clothing both have you covered. Or shop the fashionable, functional and luxurious products from Ascend Apparel online.
Now, you’ve shopped until you dropped and picked up something to wear for a night on the town. But before you go, treat yourself to a little pampering. Elevation Beauty and Nail Spa and AlphaMale Nail Care offer various manicure and pedicure services for men and women. The fellas can also get cleaned up at beloved neighborhood barbershops like Overton’s Barber Shop or No Grease Barber Shop.
If you are staying in Charlotte overnight and want unique accommodations, book a stay with Miss Elsie’s Caribbean Bed and Breakfast or Home of the 90s. Both spots offer one-of-a-kind themed rooms that you likely won’t find anywhere else in the area. Head to your accommodation and check into your room to freshen up before dinner and a nightcap.
Charlotte’s tastemakers and well-established restaurateurs have fueled this city’s growth as a remarkable culinary destination. You can’t go wrong dining at one of the following local establishments: Leah & Louise, a Southern-inspired juke joint, Freshwaters, which dishes out Cajun cuisine in a casual atmosphere, or Mert's Heart and Soul, serving up signature Southern soul food favorites like Soul Rolls and Shrimp Creole and Catfish. Finish out the night with a nightcap, cigar or hookah at Sticks and Beans.
While the hours will likely fly by, you will certainly have a fun and eventful day. Not only will you get to explore different areas and neighborhoods around the city, you will also be able to patronize and support Black-owned businesses along the way.
Article originally written by DeAnna Taylor. Updates by Kristen Moore.