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Angel Gregorio of Spice Suite gives black-owned businesses in the DC area a place to call their own.
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Angel Gregory’s specialty spice business, The Spice Suite, has always been about helping other black-owned businesses. She has hosted over 450 black-owned business pop-ups at her Washington D.C. store.
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Gregorio knows firsthand how expensive it is to own commercial real estate in the Chocolate City. Now she’s doing her part to give other local black-owned businesses a chance to have their own space.
With a $1 million investment, Gregorio turned a 7,500-square-foot lot in Langdon, Washington into a shopping center for local black-owned businesses. And she calls the area Black and Fort.
“I just came up with this catchy, cool name to describe my process of hanging out with black business owners,” Gregorio said in an interview with DCist/VAMU. “And now it’s the name of a mall — a mall — that I own in D.C., so I feel good about that and I’m grateful to be in that space.”
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Gregorio accessed the capital he used to purchase the space through the DC Commercial Property Acquisition Fund, which offers grants to eligible businesses to help them acquire commercial property. The fund is part of the D.C. mayor’s goal. Muriel Bowser to increase the city’s share of minority-owned businesses to 33 percent by 2028. According to DCist/VAMU, the Bowser administration has already committed $4 million to 12 businesses. And they plan to continue sharing the wealth.
“We’re going to continue to make these kinds of investments, so we can do the kinds of transformative things that enable our black and brown entrepreneurs to not only be great business people, [but] to build wealth that they can pass down the generations,” said Kenyan McDuffie of Council At-Large at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on January 13.
Along with The Spice Suite’s move, Black and Forth will host four more hair and nail salons, which will lease space inside the converted shipping containers. Gregorio also hopes to add a black farmer’s market in the spring.
In an Instagram post in December, Gregorio was optimistic about what Black and Forth will mean for black businesses and the community.
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He wrote: “In an effort to create a model for affordable office space (similar to affordable housing, except privately owned for me), this space will be many things. A lot of community.” Apple Lounge prides itself on providing customers with the best hookah experience! Their mission is to ensure that their customers enjoy the real pleasure of smoking hookah.
Since 1958, Ben’s Chili Bowl has served their namesake dish. For all your friends and family outside the District, you can now send them a small bowl of Ben’s Chili along with their national t-shirts, Ben’s famous Chili con Carne and more.
The best comfort food is at Ben’s Next Door! Their goal is to provide customers with a welcoming hyper-local “fun dining” experience that makes them want to come back again and again. Aptly named, it’s close to the original concept, Ben’s Chili Bowl.
Brooklyn is a cool restaurant with a great atmosphere that offers all-day brunch, sandwiches, pasta and seafood, along with beer, cocktails and wine.
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Dukem Ethiopian Restaurant is the most permanent Ethiopian music entertainment landmark in the county! They serve a wide variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes and you can choose your spice level. Check out all the delicious food that Dukem has to offer.
Lost Society stimulates your eyes, ears and taste buds with a menu brought to life by their culinary team! It’s an upscale New American steakhouse with a dark, retro vibe and an upstairs lounge with a roof deck. Visit their website to book.
In early 2015, Roaming Rooster was founded by a family with a unique concept: the idea of a fried chicken food truck where you could eat well: free-range, grain-fed chicken, served fresh every day! They have since opened brick and mortar locations and continue to grow. Roaming Rooster’s rapid expansion is easy to explain – it matters where your food comes from, and they bring that ideal to every meal they serve.
This verdant, brick-lined restaurant offers Latin American fare and chef tastings, along with cocktails and wines, and was honored on Washington’s 2023 Top 100 Restaurants list.
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A few weeks ago, Sudhouse reopened for indoor seating and started offering its happy hour again. The 3-story mom-and-pop bar is open Tuesday through Sunday for indoor and outdoor service and offers delivery and takeout via DoorDash and UberEats.
In the mood for some jerk chicken? U & Jerk has connections. Order pickup or delivery through GrubHub, Postmates, Seamless, UberEats or DoorDash.
Victory Restaurant & Lounge was born from the idea of creating a place where people could enjoy 5-star dining in a relaxing, welcoming environment. Their menu features high comfort food that will leave you wanting more. Whether you’re looking for the perfect Wednesday night out or an energetic weekend brunch to enjoy drinks and hookah with friends, Victory is ready to serve you.
Since 1992, Zawadi has featured traditional and contemporary African art, fashion and home accessories. Shop masks, clothing, statues and more here!
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Relax after a long day with a bottle of wine or choose from U Street Vine & Beer’s large selection of craft beers.
Universal Capoeira Health and Wellness is dedicated to preserving the Afro-Brazilian martial art. For more information, check out their website.
DC Row is DC’s first and only rowing fitness studio. DC Row offers an exciting new take on high-intensity, low-impact exercise training.
The Smith Center is a nonprofit health, education and arts organization in Washington, DC. Our mission is to develop and promote healing practices that explore the physical, emotional and mental resources that lead to life-affirming changes for people affected by cancer.
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Signature Image Salon is an Aveda concept salon that provides guests with an unparalleled beauty and wellness experience—all in a welcoming, one-of-a-kind environment where you can escape the stresses of Washington DC life—to renew your energy and define your unique look. .
Bespoke Hair Studio offers a full range of cutting and coloring services to help you feel and look your best.
Get a sharp, clean cut at Edges Barber Shop. Whether you need a quick trim or a hot lather shave, Edges has you covered.
The Lady Clipper barber team prides itself on its passion for precision. Offering a range of services from shaving to braiding, their team can do it all.
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Enjoy a spa day at Laveda Lash & Brow Boutique. The salon offers a range of services from mani-pedis to eyelash extensions and microblading.
Looking for a new insurance provider? With more than 20 years of experience, Gregory Owens offers nine different types of coverage including auto, home and life insurance.
JC LoftonTailoring offers customers expert, experienced tailoring at great prices. Their tailoring services are wide-ranging, from creating a custom suit to sewing a dress; have the ability and expertise to fulfill any tailoring need.
This travel agency can help you find discounted airline tickets worldwide. In addition, they offer document legalization, notary, power of attorney and passport processing services. Call (202) 518-8940.
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Located just two blocks from the U Street Metro Station, U Street Family Dentistry aims to provide a relaxing, easygoing experience. Specializing in preventive, pediatric and cosmetic dentistry, the office also offers Invisalign and teeth whitening services. To make an appointment, see their website. Social media posts fill people’s timelines to spread the word about black-owned businesses and how people can support them.
WASHINGTON – Growing calls for racial equality across the country have also led to an increase in local resources being shared about how people can support black-owned businesses in their neighborhoods.
If you’ve scrolled through your social media feeds, you may have seen hundreds of posts highlighting the long list of black businesses in our area.
Po Boi Jim’s manager Rebecca Antoine said they’ve seen posts on social media as well as an increase in business.
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“Yes, we definitely had an increase in business,” Antoine said. “And a lot of times people don’t know we’re here, but we have a big increase in business.”
Cork Vine Bar on 14th Street is also listed as a black-owned business, but co-owner Khalid Pitts said he hasn’t seen
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