Ohio’s Black-owned businesses celebrated

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 24, 2023

COLUMBUS — August is National Black Business Month, an annual celebration recognizing Black entrepreneurs and their contributions to America’s economy. TourismOhio and the Ohio Department of Development are encouraging Ohioans to support local and shop Ohio Black-owned businesses across the state, not just this August but all year long.

“We are dedicated to empowering and elevating Black-owned businesses across Ohio,” Lydia Mihalik, director of the Department of Development, which oversees TourismOhio, said. “Small businesses are the heart of Ohio’s economy, and our minority-owned small businesses are vital to supporting our communities and keeping them unique.”

There are hundreds of Black-owned businesses across the state — from bakeries with sweet treats, to relaxing spas, and trendy apparel companies, many are currently featured in TourismOhio’s 115 Black-Owned Ohio Businesses to Check Out.

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Those with a sweet tooth in central Ohio will definitely want to check out Bake Me Happy, a gluten-free bakery with locations in the south side of Columbus and Dublin. Keep an eye out for Donna’s Delicious Dozen food truck around Columbus or head to the Gahanna/New Albany donut shop for a delicious way to start the day (or midday snack).

Looking for a bite to eat in Cincinnati? You won’t want to miss K&J Seafood Co. They’re bringin’ nawlins to the ‘nati with their New Orleans-style seafood.

On deck in Greenville, near Dayton, is Proper Gnar, the nation’s first Black woman-owned skateboard company. This online streetwear and skateboarding brand has been covered by Rolling Stone, featured on HBO, and even received a shoutout from the queen herself, Beyoncé.

Jera’s Heavenly Sweet in Toledo is a sweet stop you have to try. The downtown Toledo bakery prides itself on sweets baked daily from scratch that not only taste incredible but the customer service is so sweet you’ll feel right at home. Speaking of feeling at home, tucked away in the suburb of Holland is Black Frog Brewery, a nanobrewery and local hang out spot (and one of the very few Black-owned breweries in the country) making “great beer for great people.”

Head northeast for gifts for any occasion. Fill your home with amazing aromas from Lotus Candles, a family-owned shop in Cleveland boasting traditional scents like lavender and the decadent Grandma Russell›s Chocolate Fudge Brownies. At Elizabeth’s Books & Writing Centre, founded by Akron native Rachel Elizabeth Cargle, you can peruse titles online or in person at the storefront at The Well CDC.

If Akron Honey sounds familiar, it should! Founder Brent Wesley also sings Ohio, The Heart of it All’s sweet brand anthem “Must be the love” with Akron based soul band Wesley Bright & Mayhem Music (Chris B. Harris/Dan Solovitz). You can find Akron Honey online and in local stores across northeast Ohio.

Resources for starting or growing your own Ohio Black-, Woman-, or Minority-owned small business are available year-round from Development’s Minority Business Development Division (MBDD) which provides assistance with certifications, access to small business funding, and training opportunities. Additionally, Development’s statewide network of Minority Business Assistance Centers (MBAC) provide free counseling and technical support to entrepreneurs seeking assistance. Find a local center and learn more about the services provided by both MBDD and MBAC at Minority.Ohio.Gov.

Operating within Ohio’s Department of Development, TourismOhio works to showcase all Ohio has to offer as a place of adventure, a place of promise, and the place for you.

The Ohio Department of Development empowers communities to succeed by investing in Ohio’s people, places, and businesses. Learn more about our work at development.ohio.gov.