Raleigh's Black-Owned Businesses Thriving
Thursday, June 15, 2023, 9am
Raleigh, N.C. (June 15, 2023) – After much anticipation, Liberation Station Bookstore will open its doors this weekend, just steps from Raleigh’s historic Black Main Street – where history continues to be made. The opening of Liberation Station, North Carolina’s first Black-owned children’s bookstore, will be celebrated throughout the upcoming Juneteenth weekend with events featuring bestselling and award-winning Black children’s book authors and illustrators, Black historians and even Black equestrians. Amplifying Black voices and making them accessible is the goal of Liberation Station, which will be located at 208 Fayetteville St., Ste. 201 in downtown Raleigh.
Between the intersections of Fayetteville St. and Moore Square, E. Hargett St. developed as a commercial district and the Black main street of downtown Raleigh in the 1910s and 1920s as racial segregation practices became more common in the South. Its brick buildings housed the offices of Black American doctors, lawyers, pharmacists and real estate developers as well as barbershops and retailers. The heart of the street was the 1921 multi-use Lightner Arcade and the Mechanics and Farmers Bank, an institution that remains today as M&F Bank. Today, Raleigh’s Black Main Street and surrounding streets are resurging as home to a plethora of local Black owned restaurants and businesses, offering everything from fashionable wax cotton dresses to hand-mixed soil for your DIY terrarium. A few of these key businesses include:
- Black Friday Market: A brick-and-mortar store carrying products from more than 50 entrepreneurs that include art, clothes and gift items like candles, mugs and the like, giving Black-owned businesses more exposure to more customers and bringing in more sales.
- Nashona: This fashion-forward women's clothing line from Tanzanian native Lillian K. Danieli specializes in melding modern styles with vibrant African fabrics (Nashona translates to "I sew" in Swahili). The phrase "made with love Tanzania" can be found across the tag of each piece, a callout to a loyal team of local Tanzanians, retailers and brand ambassadors that have been critical to the brand's success, and a nod to Danieli's home where a portion of all sales benefits the Shalom Orphanage in Karatu, Tanzania.
- Unorthodox Vintage: A collaboration between two wonderful black-owned vintage businesses, Sir Chance’s and She Thrifty Apparel.
- The ZEN Succulent: Green and glamourous, the ZEN Succulent offers unique gifts for customers with a true green thumb and those who just like a little nature sprinkled throughout their home. Stop in for one of their workshops as well, including a DIY Terrarium Bar class.
- Pop-Up Shops at Martin Street: For minority and women-owned businesses, this effort by Downtown Raleigh Alliance, StartUp at Wake Tech and LM Restaurants increases the presence, inclusion and equity of business ownership in downtown Raleigh.
- Black Main Street Murals: Created by Raleigh Arts and artist TJ Mundy, the public art series marks four buildings that played a major role in Raleigh’s historic Black Main Street.
- ORO Restaurant & Lounge: A chic restaurant offering dishes designed for sharing, chef/owner Chris Hylton's ORO is best enjoyed with good friends and good vibes (and plenty of items ordered for the table).
- Black & White Coffee Roasters: Formed in 2017 when two U.S. Barista Champions Kyle Ramage and Lem Butler collaborated on a vision to bring specialty coffee to the masses in an approachable way. Black & White Coffee now has a thriving wholesale business plus three tasty café locations in Wake Forest, Rolesville and downtown Raleigh.
- 311 Gallery: A contemporary art gallery located in downtown Raleigh featuring local and nationally juried exhibitions, artist studios and a gift shop. The 12 working or exhibition studios include the works of over 30 resident artists including abstract, landscape and portrait painters, photographers, potters and other creators.
Coming Soon: In August 2023, a landmark project 20 years in the making, North Carolina Freedom Park will finally open honoring African American struggles and triumphs in pursuit of freedom, justice, equality and opportunity. Through various structural elements, deep symbolism and impactful words from famous Black North Carolinians, the park will celebrate the importance of freedom to all people no matter their background. The design for North Carolina Freedom Park comes from the late, nationally acclaimed architect Phil Freelon, widely known for his exceptional work on projects including the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
Through local support and buying locally, Black owned businesses are continuing to grow and succeed, reviving the dynamic Black Main Street corridor in downtown Raleigh.
About the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (Visit Raleigh):
As the official destination marketing organization for Wake County, the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (Visit Raleigh), is responsible for promoting Wake County as an attractive travel destination and enhancing its public image as a dynamic place to live and work. Through the impact of travel, the organization strengthens the economic position of and provide opportunity for people throughout Wake County. Raleigh, N.C./Wake County welcomes nearly 13 million visitors annually whose spending tops $1.7 billion. The visitor economy supports more than 17,000 local jobs in Wake County and generates $186 million in state and local tax revenues, saving each Wake County household $470 in taxes annually. visitRaleigh.com
Director of Public Relations and International Tourism
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Header photo: Courtney Winter Martin