Population growth in the Valley has seen nearly 800,000 people move to cities like Phoenix and others in Maricopa County, including 70,000 black residents who moved between 2010 and 2020.
With people comes commerce and entrepreneurs looking to create businesses.
The State of Black Arizona and the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) released their third Black State Business Report, surveying the growth of the black business community. This study has been conducted every year since 2021.
Approximately 1,200 black-owned businesses around Arizona have been identified, most of which can be found using a database created by the community organization Blax Friday.
What is a black-owned business?
Although at face value, the term may be self-explanatory, black-owned means owned by a black or African-American individual or group of individuals. However, terms like Black-founded can add a layer of complexity to understanding what it means to support Black businesses. The Federal Government has guidelines provided by the Small Business Administration that facilitate the participation of minority-owned businesses in bidding for government contracts. The main qualification is that at least 51 percent of the business is owned by one or more individuals who identify as ethnic minorities.
The Pew Research Center found that despite the growth of black-majority-owned businesses, they account for only 3% of all firms that can be classified by race and ethnicity in 2020. Drawing on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Annual Business Survey According to the US Census, it is estimated that there are 140,918 firms with majority black or African American ownership.
As February marks Black History Month, we compiled a list of businesses across the Valley that Republic readers can support. Here are some of those institutions:
Early Bird Vegan and Trash Panda Vegan
Chef and owner Krystal Harris opened Early Bird Vegan in south Phoenix in November 2020, focusing on bringing the best and healthiest food options to the community. Trash Panda Vegan is a sister concept food truck.
Information: 1712 E Broadway Road, Unit 3, Phoenix. 602-612-3578. https://earlybirdvegan.com.
Grassrootz Bookstore and Juice Bar
Grassrootz is a black and worker-owned bookstore in the Eastlake Park neighborhood.
Information: Noon-7pm Tuesday-Saturday, noon-5pm Sundays. 1145 E. Washington St., Phoenix. 480-442-0293. https://grassrootzbookstore.com.
Black Theater Troupe
Katherine Mason, an official with the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department, founded the Black Theater Company on September 14, 1970. It is the oldest African-American theater in the Southwest, with the 2021-2022 season marking its 51st. his.
Information: 1333 E. Washington St., Phoenix. 602-258-8128. https://www.blacktheatretroupe.org.
Cool Jamaican restaurant Vybz
This Jamaican eatery is family owned and operated in North Phoenix.
Information: 340 W. Northern Ave., Phoenix. 602-601-5731. https://coolvybz-jamaican-restaurant.business.site.
Launched in 2017, Exchange is a marketplace for black-owned small businesses. They organize and host events like the Shop Black Marketplace in downtown Phoenix.
Information: 1145 E. Washington St., Phoenix. https://archwoodexchange.com.
Mr Wonderful’s Chicken & Waffles
mr. Wonderful brings a blend of Cleveland and Southern flavors to Valley residents. The best way to keep up with Mr. Wonderful’s food truck is by checking out their Facebook.
Information: 502-329-1885. Facebook page.
Get Sassy Beauty Supply
Founded in 2009, this Black-owned beauty shop claims it can “help you find your sanity!” They offer a selection of wigs, skin care accessories and barber supplies and more.
1368 N. Arizona Ave., #102, Chandler. 480-917-0014. https://getsassybeauty.com
According to their Yelp page, Caribbean Kitchen offers “authentic island flavors in the Valley of the Sun” with dishes like Curry Goat, Oxtail and more.
6031 N. 67th Ave., Glendale. 623-476-2401. https://menupages.com/caribbean-cuisine/6031-n-67th-ave-glendale.
Randizzle’s Food Truck
Football star Ryan Gatewood had a dream to open his own food place. Randizzle’s dream is that of a lifetime. The food truck specializes in bringing gourmet burgers and tacos to the people. The best way to find the truck is through the food truck’s Instagram account.
Information: 480-326-4435. https://randizzlesfoodtruck.com.
Straw and wool
The business was founded in 2020 by owner Henry Dickerson and focuses on selling classic hats.
Information: 610 E. Roosevelt St., Phoenix. 602-888-4761. https://strawandwool.com
Honey Bear BBQ
Owner, chef and pitmaster Mark Smith has been serving the Valley for over 35 years.
Information: 2824 N. Central Ave., Phoenix; 5012 E. Van Buren St., Phoenix. 602-702-3060. honeybearsbbq.com