Looking to support Black-owned businesses? Here are some Calgary options
An estimated crowd of 4,000 gathered in Olympic Plaza on June 6, 2020 for an anti-racism rally, one of three events of the week to draw more than 2,000 supporters
CALGARY -- As the Black Lives Matter movement grows across North America, an emphasis has been placed on the need to support local Black-owned businesses.
Beni Johnson, the founder and executive director of Calgary-based 10 at 10 — a company that promotes urban music and hip-hop culture — says he was caught off guard by the sheer magnitude of the anti-racism rallies in his adopted hometown.
"Living here for 14 years now, I've never seen that kinda support both from within the (Black) community (but) through our allies as well," he said.
Johnson, who also works as an A&R music and marketing consultant, says supporting Black-owned businesses today will support the community in the years to come and serve as a forebearer to systemic change.
"Buying Black evens the playing field when talking about opportunity," explained Johnson. "It's important for the Black community to have economic power in order to create or fund change.
"Buying Black is like directly investing into the institutions and the generational wealth of Black families. It brings economic strength to change the course and access to levels of education, land buying and financial wellbeing. When dealing with politics that affect Black families, that same economic strength can bring Black-focused issues to the forefront.
"Buying Black directly empowers Black entrepreneurs to create more jobs for Blacks, which in turn makes the community self providing."
Challenging times for restaurant owners
Fay Bruney, the owner/operator of Simply Irie Caribbean Cusine in the Beltline, says the support comes at a difficult time for her business. After six years, the restaurant relocated to a spot near the intersection of 17th Avenue and Sixth Street S.W. — near Western Canadian High School — this winter, weeks before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in Calgary.
Bruney was forced to lay off all of her staff save for her cook as the restaurant was closed to dine-in customers but continued to serve takeout to a dedicated customer base that includes nurses and remand centre staff.
Supporting Black-owned businesses starts with identifying Black-owned businesses
Social media posts outlining businesses with Black-ownership have been shared in major cities in both Canada and the United States and, after seeing a need to shine a light on local businesses, a Calgary woman took it upon herself to fill the void.
"I saw many people sharing posts with Black-owned and Black-run businesses from their cities (ex. Toronto, Seattle, Vancouver etc.) and thought that Calgary should have one as well," explained Kelsey Deveraturda, a University of Calgary student. "Googling what businesses in Calgary were local and Black-run, I saw that there wasn't a comprehensive list available. I figured that I might as well make one so that Calgarians could go to one place and access information for organizations, groups, restaurants etc."
Deveraturda began to compile a list of Calgary-area BLM resources as well as restaurants, shops and services within the Black community. As of Tuesday, the list had more than 80 entires.
"My hope is that Calgarians continue to use it as a place to begin supporting and investing in our Black communities, and grow to support international movements for Black justice."
At Simply Irie, the social media push to support Black-owned businesses resulted in a jump of more than 100 followers on Instagram in less than 48 hours as well as an influx of positive comments.
- Abyssinia Restaurant
- Aggudo Coffee
- Joycee's Caribbean
- Luubann East African Restaurant
- Marathon Ethiopian Restaurant
- Simply Irie Caribbean Cuisine
- Africana BBQ Curries Drinks
- Food N Vibes
- KFS BBQ Smokehouse
- Merilyn's Kitchen/Natty's Heritage
- Yenny Delights
- Ahinke's Kitchen
- Delish Dining
- Karibu Grill & Lounge
- Krazy Jerk
- Lloyd's Patty Plus
- Nile Café
- Safari Grill
- Teff N Greens
- Yegna Ethiopian Restaurant
- Alora Boutique
- Antho Authentics
- Bobby T Couture
- Civic Styles
- Hoot N Blow
- Karen Stanley
- Kem's Fashion Inc.
- TeamBMB Apparel
- Zilla Couture
Salons and beauty supply stores (North)
- Ellie Bianca Skin Care
- Iconic Salon
- Island Beat Beauty and Salon
- Lashes by Reia
- Luxerapy Esthetic Studio
Salons and beauty supply stores (South)