As any shop local devotee will tell you, how and where you spend your money can make a big impact on your area. One of the best ways to help support Cleveland’s Black community is by patronizing Northeast Ohio’s wide array of Black-owned businesses. “Where some people have a head start, Black businesses have a little bit of a handicap or a couple steps back because most of us are undercapitalized to begin with,” says Brittany Benton, who owns Brittany’s Record Shop. “Knowing that most Black businesses struggle with [funding], they need to be supported.” In honor of National Black-owned Business Month, here are five spots to support now.
Brittany's Record Shop
Brittany Benton’s Slavic Village music store does more than just sell soul, reggae, hip-hop and Black-inspired records from the Fugees, Lenny Kravitz, Jay-Z and more. The unassuming shop, which is packed with vinyls thoughtfully organized in milk crates, is a gathering place for artists. Beatmakers, singers, rappers and producers — like Benton who is a DJ — come to display their talents and make connections. “I don’t get offended when people say it’s the Black record shop,” says Benton. “I just wanted to be a celebration of the culture because there’s a lot of independent shops in Cleveland, but none of them specialized in this niche. It was always underserved.” 6410 Fleet Ave., Cleveland, 883-568-3929, brittanysrecordshop.com
Gurnee Green’s mom worked two jobs to make ends meet, so Green would often make her own clothes to help save money. As she got older and bought clothes online, she’d still alter them to fit her style. That was her motivation for starting Chemistry 11, a clothing boutique and brand for men and women, where you can find everything from hoodies to a bejeweled corset or a structured velvet Juliet sleeve top. “I don’t like to bring in the same thing. I like one-of-a-kind type of pieces,” says Green. “I don’t want it to be something you can go into the mall and find. It’s jazzy, it’s spicy, it has a touch of couture in there.” 1918 S. Taylor Road, Cleveland Heights, 216-640-3324, chemistry11.com
Daybreak Yoga might seem like a typical studio where the goal is for people to walk out of the light-filled spot more relaxed than they were before coming in. But owner Dawn M. Rivers chose to open her studio in working-class Bedford to shine the wellness light on a spot that hasn’t gotten that kind of attention. While Rivers works to ensure her clients are striving for wellness, she keeps her pricing affordable ($8-$16) so members of the community can access classes online or in her studio. “I wanted to bring wellness [to people] who weren’t familiar with yoga — that don’t necessarily have the privileges to go to a studio that had been established,” says Rivers. “I make the yoga adapt to them.” 794 Broadway Ave., Bedford, 216-532-3099, daybreak.yoga
Polizhed Natural Nail Studio & Product Line
Some women express their individuality with press-on or acrylic nails, but owner Brittany Foster keeps the focus on real nails as a means of embracing natural beauty. Specializing in manicures, pedicures and nail art, even the products Foster uses and offers — such as cuticle oils — are made with essential oils and free of toxins. “I wanted to create an environment where people had a pleasant experience,” says Foster, who notes that supporting Black-owned businesses can have a lasting effect. “You are supporting a dream, legacy and community, allowing room to create generational wealth, build economic strength, create job opportunities, increase stability and much more.” 23980 Chagrin Blvd., Suite 103, Beachwood, 216-245- 6599, polizhedstudio.com
Owner Kelly Boyd goes back and forth with manufacturers to make sure the RayTec Audio Bluetooth headphones and other tech goodies her team designs are just right. That includes emails, calls and Skype meetings to go over logo placement or keeping the price down. “I’m not cheap, but I’m not going to overcharge you,” says Boyd, whose headphones are $60- $99. But Boyd spends just as much time giving back to the community, donating a portion of RayTec’s profits to the United Negro College Fund and more. “It’s very important we continue to build and support one another,” she says. “We have to, it’s time.” 216-220-1897, raytecaudio.com