Spend 24 Hours Supporting Black-Owned Businesses
Explore the Queen City while also supporting Black-owned businesses along the way.
by DeAnna Taylor
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 Express Fry House, 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 Evoke Coffee for your favorite morning pick-me-up. The shop and community space brews hot and iced lattes, served with house-made syrups, that come with affirmation cards for a positive start to the day. Before you really indulge in breakfast or brunch, work up an appetite in a group fitness class at Charlotte FIT.
Now that you have earned your breakfast, head to The People’s Market in Elizabeth for a breakfast sandwich or the filling People’s Breakfast Platter. If you want to stay on the lighter side, pick up a cold-pressed juice or fruit-packed acai bowl from Juicin’, an organic juice bar just north of Charlotte in Highland, or try the “Fight the Power” smoothie from one of Hip Hop Smoothies’ three locations.
Learn about Black history in Charlotte, and in the nation, by visiting 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 BLKMRKTCLT, a studio and gallery focused 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 and take a self-guided tour through the 15th largest city in the nation. As you’re taking in the sights, keep an eye out for the captivating murals that honor Black history in Charlotte’s Historic West End. The “Past, Present and Future” collaborative mural tells the story of the West End, while the “NC 8” mural on West Trade Street pays tribute to eight influential Black musicians from North Carolina.
When 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; Ve-Go Food Truck, 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, check out Five13 Studio in South End for all the apparel and accessories you’d need for an evening in the Queen City. Also in South End, The Brown Sugar Collab sells handmade bath, body, hair and skincare products all made by women of color. 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 that you’ve shopped until you dropped and picked up something to wear for a night on the town, 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 rental house. Both spots offer 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.
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 low-country favorites like the restaurant’s signature Soul Rolls, Shrimp Creole and fried 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 Arielle Patterson.