Through the economic turmoil of pandemic shutdowns and the racial reckoning of 2020, Black-owned businesses have been a beacon of hope for the financial futures of African American’s in the Rochester region.
A 2020 University of Nevada-Las Vegas study on Black entrepreneurship showed that although African American ownership remains on the rise, the growth has been incremental.
According to Tiffany Howard, the UNLV political science professor who helped conduct the study, “Black business ownership, more so than even education, is a tangible pathway for African Americans to achieve economic parity and close the racial wealth gap.”
From barbershops to convenience stores and maternal support services, Rochester is full of thriving businesses looking to cater to everyone, especially Black residents who make up nearly 40% of the city’s population.
If you’re looking to support one of these businesses, check out this list below, curated from community recommendations, to help lead you in the right direction.
Our guide for 2021:Rochester’s Black-owned restaurants, bakeries and caterers
Bold & Gritty
Neurosurgeon Dr. David Paul started Bold & Gritty, a coffee lifestyle brand, in October 2020. The initial idea was to tell the stories of amazing Black men and compile those stories into a coffee table book. The idea evolved into a coffee-focused lifestyle brand that uses coffee as the vehicle for sharing those inspiring stories. Bold and Gritty was recently selected as one of 10 semi-finalists for the UPS Store and Inc. Magazine Small Biz Challenge. To learn more, visit their website: www.boldandgritty.com.
Jackie McGriff is a portrait photographer who focuses on helping high school seniors share their unique stories and visualize themselves in their aspiring professions through cinematic photography. She was one of the photographers who profiled Herb Smith as part of the In This Moment Project by Amanda Chestnut and Jeanne Strazzabosco. To learn more and book services, visit www.jackiephotographs.com
Founded by Denise Ester in 2014, Muse Company is a creative events company personalizing experiences for its clients. Their motto is, whether you are planning a small, intimate gathering, a huge affair or a social event, Muse wants you to be the guest at your own event. Visit Muse : www.musecompany.co
Chelsé Inman is a babywearing educator and postpartum doula offering a bevy of services for mothers. When she stumbled upon the many facets of birth work, she felt as if she finally found her happy place. Chelsé hopes to share the love of babywearing as an educator and facilitate a smooth transition to life as a doula. Learn more at: www.nurturebynature.me
From preparing for a job interview to making sure you look your best for that particular person in your life, the barbers at Creative Cuts don’t just see themselves as stylists — they’re in the business of changing lives, offering fresh haircuts in various styles. Creative Cuts is located at 523 East Ridge Road.
Nathaniel Square Convenience Store
Known as “The Square,” this convenience store serves the adjacent South Wedge community and is known for its warm customer service and authentic connection to the neighborhood. The Square is located at 495 South Avenue.
Honey B Home & Essentials
Marquis and Tonia Butler own Honey B Home & Essentials, a Black-owned home goods retail store located in Rochester’s High Falls district. Honey B’s retail stock includes home décor, skincare products and apparel, highlighting Black-owned businesses’ products. The push gives small Black companies a chance at valuable shelf space they usually can’t attain in large retail stores. Find Honey B at www.honeybstore.com or 4 Commercial St, Level B Rochester, New York
MansaWear is a custom-design clothing line that blends Ghanaian and US fashions to create stylish, high-quality mashup outfits. MansaWear owner and fashion designer Nita Brown was born in Ghana and is the daughter of a diplomat. MansaWear has recently expanded and scaled up by offering ready-to-wear merchandise. For more information, visit their website: www.mansawear.com
Love For Words
CaTyra Polland is the CEO/Founder of Love for Words, an editing boutique that helps clients prepare their manuscripts for publishing and navigate the self-publishing world. CaTyra, an author and poet, is an alumna of Nazareth Academy, the University at Buffalo and Albany. Additionally, Love For Words provides proofreading services to businesses such as magazines, agencies and publishers. Learn more at: pollandllc.com/love-for-words
The Groom Room Men’s Spa and Lounge
The Groom Room Men’s Spa Lounge is a Day Spa dedicated solely to Men’s health and wellness, owned and operated by Monique Chatman, a Rochester native with several years of experience in the skincare industry. Chatman launched a line of all-natural beard and body products amid her depression after losing her mother to bladder cancer. She named the line in remembrance and honor of her mother’s childhood nickname. She eventually earned an esthetician’s license and found a passion in men’s skincare that birthed the Groom Room Men’s Spa And Lounge.
Contact info: Door #8, 215 Tremont St, Rochester, NY 14608 | https://groomroommensspa.com/
CG’s House of Bounce
Chad Grimes delivers happiness to families around Rochester with his bounce house business CG’s House of Bounce. CG’s will provide and set up various bounce houses and food machine rentals for healthy, safe fun for the entire family. Packages are affordable for family fun on a budget.
Contact info: 39 St. Jacob St., Rochester. (585) 479-0657.
Shamille McCullough started her beauty career at the age of 16 after running six salons in various locations around the country. McCullough brings New York City, Atlanta and Los Angeles to Rochester with her trendy fashions that are part of Embellish Boutique, a hair salon, and accessory shop. The boutique features styles that are hard to find elsewhere in the region and has a large accessories area, with jewelry and purses to accentuate special outfits.
The salon and shop are at 757 Genesee Street in the 19th Ward near Brooks Landing. https://www.boutiqueembellish.com/
Digno Caminero and Greg Haas are founders of Recovrx; a Rochester-based CBD company focused on bringing more awareness to the importance of mental health. Caminero is a Rochester high school graduate and earned his degree from Nazareth College.
Recovrx was launched as co-founder Greg Haas struggled with his anxiety. “There are many people in his situation, and we would like to lend a hand to those suffering from anxiety and other health issues,” Caminero said.
Learn more at : https://recovrx.com/
ShiftDiff.com is a local job search engine founded by Raheem and Amorette Miller in 2018. The couple started the business when Amorette found herself looking for work. “Amorette woke me up one evening and said, ‘Everything on these websites is old; let’s start a job search engine just for the Rochester area.’ So we did,” says Raheem.
Since then, the website has hosted job vacancies from over 150 Rochester area companies–large and small. “Last year was a tough time for workers and employers alike,” says Raheem. “We are climbing out, and our website is buzzing with traffic again.” The company offered free postings for an entire year during the pandemic. Now postings are discounted to make listing job vacancies affordable during the current worker shortage.
Learn more at: ShiftDiff.com
Good Knews Photography
Chris “Goodknews” Cardwell, a Rochester-based photographer, works with locals and celebrities, offering professional photography for weddings, senior portraits, product shoots and more. Cardwell has worked with stars like Trey Songz, Jadakiss, Lloyd and Fabolous.
Contact info: 250 Cumberland St. Rochester. (585) 957-1244. https://goodknewsphotography.com/
Our guide for 2021:Rochester’s Black-owned restaurants,…
Read More: Black owned businesses in Rochester NY: Community recommendations