Independent Retailer Month is celebrated every July and provides the opportunity to highlight local small businesses to show some much-needed love. Independent retailers employ over half of the U.S. workforce and often supply products and services not found in larger stores.
If you are looking for the perfect custom gift or just something unique, independent retailers are always rising to the occasion. They work long hours and dedicate extra time to the success of their business. This dedication brings unique local goods to the marketplace while keeping tax dollars in the U.S.
As we face many changes in our economy, independent retailers support the community by offering flexible part-time and full-time schedules. They sponsor local schools, events, sports teams, and other local organizations. When we shop with independent retailers, we support our towns.
Buying from Black-owned shops, stores, and brands is one way to be an ally and show support as they are affected by systemic racism. Black business owners are turned down for loans twice as often as their white counterparts and they were also hit the hardest by the pandemic. Our money can make a difference, especially when we consistently buy Black for our everyday needs.
With a simple Google search, you can find Black-owned businesses within your city, but I’ve compiled a list of brands you can shop from online at any time. From bookstores to food and drink to wellness, the hope is that you’ll find some new favorites that you can shop for long-term.
BLK + BRWN. bookstore in my hometown of Kansas City is a smart bookstore designed to empower Black and Brown communities through literature and conversation. Scan the QR code on a book and it will pull up a different experience paired to the book — playlists, interviews with authors, or even historic lectures. Come on with the innovation, Cori Smith!
The Lit. Bar opened in 2019 and is the only bookshop in Bronx, New York. It serves the community with events, a wine bar, and a space where you can definitely find a good read. Founder Noëlle Santos has an amazing story of how this gem came to be, and she’s definitely made her mark with this bookstore.
Malik Books is an independent bookstore in Los Angeles and specializes in works by Black authors and programming centered on Black cultures. These include a Nipsey Hussle reading list that celebrates the rapper’s legacy.
Blk & Bold was founded in 2018 and is the first Black-owned nationally distributed coffee brand. The specialty coffees and teas include single-origin roasts from El Salvador and Ethiopian beans. It’s delicious and I order the Rise & Shine medium roast directly from the website.
McBride Sisters Wine Company was created by sisters Robin and Andréa McBride. They grew up on different sides of the globe (New Zealand and California) and met for the first time in 1999. They discovered they had a mutual passion for wine and started the company with a line of wines inspired by each coast. Their popular Black Girl Magic wine celebrates the beauty, power, and resilience of Black women. The sisters also work to promote the professional advancement of women in the wine industry and awards grants to Black women-owned small businesses struggling due to the pandemic.
Zach & Zoe Sweet Bee Farm started as a beekeeping passion project for Summer and Kam (Zach and Zoe are their children). When their son began suffering from bad seasonal allergies, they searched for natural remedies to alleviate his allergic reactions. They learned of the many benefits and healing properties of raw honey, and the rest is history. You may have seen them in a Chase Business commercial.
Alvin Ailey Extension believes dance should be for everyone – anywhere. They offer online dance and fitness classes, performances, and workshops. Also, Zoom classes for kids and adults in ballet, hip-hop, and modern dance.
I discovered The Honey Pot about a year ago because I wanted feminine-care products that were not harmful to my body. Bea Dixon started making products in her kitchen, and today they are sold at Target, Walmart, and other retailers. What I love is that they are 100 percent natural and gynecologist-approved. Everything you need from organic tampons to feminine washes.
As magic as we are ladies, Black will crack if we don’t take care of our skin. Shontay Lundy founded Black Girl Sunscreen in 2016 after she became frustrated with the white cast left behind by most sunscreens. There are two lines — one for adults and one for kids — that have nourishing ingredients and range up to SPF 30. I can confirm that it doesn’t leave a white cast, and works great under makeup.
One of the most direct ways to support the Black community is to shop for Black-owned businesses. Hopefully, this list will get you started with some happy shopping you can feel good about.
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Archuleta is an author, poet, blogger, and host of the FearlessINK podcast. Archuleta's work centers Black women, mental health and wellness, and inspiring people to live their fullest potential.