Editor’s Note: This story is part of a Black History Month content series. Throughout the month, read stories about the people who contribute to our community and learn more about black history and how it influences us today.
Have you ever noticed the presence of big companies online during Black History Month?
While intentions usually come from a good place, it’s easy to feel jaded when a logo is changed to feature a red, yellow, and green version of itself for twenty-eight days with no other signs of empowerment. or black activism coming from society.
A great way to show solidarity is to support local Black-owned businesses. To show some amazing businesses some love and help them thrive throughout the year, check out the list below:
AmericanSoul Kitchen & Bar 164 Scott Street, Meriden, CT 06450
Whether it’s for after-work drinks or hosting a large family reunion, AmericanSoul Kitchen Bar & Grill is a true hidden gem that fits any type of ambience. Incredible comfort food combined with a chic bar and lounge area warmly welcome all visitors who walk through the doors of AmericanSoul Kitchen Bar & Grill. Don’t miss their Bottomless Mimosas on weekends! This spring, keep an eye out for new hours and potentially new menu items! Try something new and support a local black-owned business tucked away in East Meriden.
Trey’s Barbershop 101 Center St, Southington, Connecticut 06489
A cool, laid-back space conveniently located in the heart of Southington, Trey’s Barbershop is the place to be. Owned by brother-sister duo, Trey Maestri and Sherry Bronson, the owners of Trey’s Barbershop pride themselves on doing great work that speaks for itself, regardless of race, background or otherwise. With a loyal clientele that keeps coming back, the boutique
Wayne Edwards Production (based in Southington)
Wayne Edwards, Emmy winner, college educator, visionary, artist, and businessman has brought countless visions to fruition over the years. His decades of technical video production experience combined with his flexibility and creative eye are just some of the assets Edwards brings to every project he takes on.
When asked to reflect on the success of his business, he mentioned his passion for leading the next generation. His University of New Haven students are often invited and encouraged to join Edwards in his business endeavors to gain invaluable hands-on knowledge with some of the best tools in the industry. Regarding the opportunities his company provides for students, Edwards says, “I’m able to provide real, hands-on experience. For any project, large or small, contact Wayne Edwards for a professional and visually compelling masterpiece.
Mind, Body & Soulfood 511 W Main St, Meriden, CT 06451
“Being a black-owned business is not just a blessing but an honor.” says Drew Durant, owner of Mind, Body and Soulfood in downtown Meriden. A family-run establishment, the Mind, Body & Soulfood team have brought their dreams to life in the city they have lived in for years.
Durant commented on how exciting it is to be a black-owned business, especially after growing up in a time when it was so rare to see them in the Meriden community. Regarding the overall restaurant experience, Durant continued, “We are working hard to bring a piece of our culture to local dining in the city for everyone and we look forward to continuing to bring the city together around a good meal. We are grateful and appreciate all the support we have gotten and continue to bring this community to life.
Rhythm Brewing Co. (based in New Haven)
Alisa Bowens-Mercado has always had a special place in her heart for beer, music and rhythm. When she’s not dancing the night away at her dance studio, Alisa’s House of Salsa in New Haven, she can be found crafting Rhythm. Rhythm, Bowens-Mercado’s lager, named after his passions in life, can be purchased either at his New Haven dance studio or through the “Rhythm Finder” section of his company’s website, which will help beer lovers locate the nearest place to pick up a pack! Brewed with South African hops by the state’s first African-American woman to brew, Rhythm is a true Connecticut gem that should not go unnoticed!
There are so many ways to celebrate, listen and support the Black community every day – even a small gesture can say a lot. However you choose to honor Black History Month, try to consider elevating local Black-owned businesses throughout the year!
Francesca Fontánez is a journalist, educator and creative based in Meriden. A graduate of the University of New Haven and the University of Bridgeport, she is happy to be back in Meriden to write about the city she loves and its surroundings. When she’s not teaching ELA at Washington Middle School, she explores the East Coast for her lifestyle blog (@eastsidevibes on Instagram) or works on music for her band, Cessa and The Zach. Email Francesca at [email protected] with advice on what you want to read next, or just to say hello!