With Governor Larry Hogan’s state proclamation honoring Juneteenth, a day of recognition celebrating the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States, and the month of August being National Black Business Month, this summer the Maryland Department of Commerce is placing the spotlight on Maryland’s Black-owned businesses.
From fitness, to beauty products, food, accounting, and urban agriculture—we are highlighting Black-owned businesses in your community by offering a great opportunity to add these unique businesses into your regular rotation and of course, buy local!
Farm to Table
Farmer Chippy over at Plantation Park Heights Urban Farm, located in the Park Heights neighborhood of Baltimore City, is in the business of community agriculture. His team focuses on growing a variety of herbs, vegetables, and flowers alongside the children, parents, and family members of their community. Their main mission is to provide the community with easy access to cleaner, greener foods.
Plantation Park Heights Urban Farm (PPHUF) began its journey in 2014 through a desire to effect change and have a positive impact on the lives of young adults residing in the Park Heights community. PPHUF is training the next generation of junior urban farmers from Baltimore’s elementary/middle schools. Through working closely with Coppin State University, Morgan State University, and other institutions, they are helping to ensure graduates of their training program successfully move on to the world of higher education with a new and innovative agricultural skillset.
With all this innovation, the business was also recently recognized as a top innovative small business by Baltimore’s Innovation Works. If you’re ever in the Park Heights neighborhood be sure to give Farmer Chippy a call, he’s sure to serve up fresh vegetables, a smile, and “good vibes” as their website states.
Gaia's Hands is a natural beauty and skin care product company based out of Colmar Manor in Prince George’s County. Delilah Barrow, the company’s owner, centers her mission around simple, all natural, organic ingredients. She believes that fewer ingredients create a softer more sustainable skincare product line, while also helping to conserve natural resources.
Delilah began her journey with Gaia's Hands because she wanted to build a community of like-minded people, creating a “safe space” with teachings and understandings that promote resource conservation. The Gaia's Hands brand takes a holistic approach to skincare, not just taking care of what people use on their bodies, but also what people put into their bodies and the thoughts that enter their minds. The company currently offers a variety of natural skin care products such as body butter, beard balm, hair oil, body oil, bug spray, bar soap, castile liquid soap, and more. All of these products can be ordered on their website, be sure to check it out!
Fitness with an edge
Tungi Kelley, the owner/head trainer, over at Fitness Edge in Montgomery County has made his mission and goal to build a diverse community of friendly people that help make fitness fun and challenging for everyone.
As a business owner, Tungi feels it's extremely important for his patrons to know how loving and welcoming Fitness Edge strives to be. Each individual that comes into the gym is treated as a valued part of the community. Tungi feels that first impressions are everything and the overall experience at Fitness Edge is what separates them from other gyms.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for many fitness institutions, Tungi and his team have managed to keep afloat. The team has been able to offer an ongoing safe and socially distanced environment so that patrons and their families are able to keep up with their fitness goals. Learn more about Tungi, his team, and Fitness Edge by visiting their website or send them an email at email@example.com.
Maxine Whitelock, owner of Maxes Taxes in Queen Anne’s County, says there are two things that are inevitable in this life: death and taxes. As the owner of an accounting business and a certified public accountant, she has made it her mission to help out the small/local businesses of Maryland in one of the more intimidating parts of running a business - accounting and taxes.
Maxine and her team of accountants focus on supporting “every day” people, the small businesses of Queen Anne’s County and the Eastern Shore, who she says often aren’t able to afford bigger consultant companies. The team is always willing to work with clients no matter where they are coming from, and they enjoy the practical aspects of walking someone through the steps needed to accomplish their dreams.
The team has currently pulled their efforts into helping their clients apply for Small Business Association and Personal Protective Equipment loans during the COVID-19 Pandemic. For more information, or for a consultation with Maxine, visit the Maxes Taxes webpage.
Serving up the good stuff
Dat Jerk Caribbean Chargrill, located in Charles and Prince George’s Counties, provides delicious Caribbean entrées in a fast, casual dining environment. Owned by a husband and wife team, Angela and Richard Fray, the company is bringing great tasting Caribbean food to an audience that is yearning for fresh food in a family friendly atmosphere without unhealthy additives.
Their process is built on preparing continuous small batches of authentic Caribbean cuisine with concentrated menu items such as Jamaican Jerk Chicken, Authentic Jerk Pork and their Signature Sauced Shrimp. Their offerings are marinated in a variety of traditional Caribbean spices and seasonings that are then cooked in a wood coal flame rotisserie or over a charcoal grill, and served alongside their signature sauces to help kick things up a notch.
The Fray’s mission is to provide Caribbean fare to a diverse audience in a light, fun atmosphere with consistency in high quality food, superior customer service, and outstanding cleanliness. Visit one of their locations, or check out their website.
Efforts to support and recognize Black-owned businesses is an important part of bolstering Maryland’s economy and spans far past the month of August. With so many unique owners, businesses, products, and opportunities to add into our daily lives, all Marylanders can show support for Black and minority-owned businesses year round. Through promoting these businesses, Marylanders can find a new favorite place, buy local, and support Black-owned business for the long term.
Keep an eye out for more highlights coming later this month!