With the statewide reopening of commercial retail businesses occurring this past Monday, there is no better time than the present to use your next spending spree helping out black-owned small businesses. Here’s a list of 13 black-owned stores in the state of New Jersey looking to get back on their feet amidst the chaotic climate of 2020.
In business since the 1970s, this New Jersey bakery is unique in their specialization of pies, offering customers bean pies, sweet potato pies, carrot pies, and even butternut squash pies among other different desserts. With the assurance of no animal products in their ingredients, this small shop has remained a favorite to its patrons for decades.
Decidedly modern in its design and featuring an in-store art gallery by Michael Dal Cerro, this espresso shop has stayed on the cutting edge despite the hectic year. Black Swan Espresso is currently offering online pickup and delivery services. Place your first order here.
This brand’s dedication to the slogan of “You Are What You Eat!” is rather clear when viewing their products. With strictly all-natural, non-GMO, organic and vegan options covering their menu from top to bottom, this bakery has remained popular for years now. They also have a knack for being interactive with their customers, offering customized playlists and even their own merchandise.
Asbury Park, NJ
Aikeem Taylor sought to create a learning environment for young children interested in music, and soon created the premier music education organization of South Jersey. A native of Asbury Park himself, he played in his high school’s marching band, before studying music and business in college. Alongside Jeremiah Johnson, a fellow black musician and percussion specialist, the two have established an efficient system of private instruction and group sessions, teaching their students an array of different instruments. They also have launched a store for different accessories and instruments.
West Orange, NJ
This bookstore, originated by Wade & Cheryl Hudson, began as the couple was in pursuit of children’s books that reflected the diversity of Black history, heritage and experiences. When their endeavor was deemed fruitless, their mission to open Just Us Books was born. 30 years later, they remain one of the nation’s few Black-owned publishers, with a selection spanning children’s literature, young adult novels, black history books and so much more.
Founded 25 years ago, John and Margaret Erving specialize in their own personal and creative greeting cards. Typically a market dominated by commercial corporate brands like Hallmark, the Ervings offer cards relating to birthdays, Mother’s & Father’s Day, graduation, Valentine’s Day and Christmas amongst several other categories. They also have a program set up to specifically assist fundraising events, which you can check out here.
Jersey City, NJ
This clothing brand is on the front line of refreshingly modern apparel, and have recently developed a line of hoodies and tees sponsoring the empowerment of women and black people everywhere. My personal favorite, the social-distancing tee, can be found here.
Widely known as being the first brand ever featured on the show “Shark Tank” (which you can view below), Mr. Tod’s Bakery specializes in pies, cobblers, cheesecakes, cupcakes, and other assorted delicious desserts. Tod’s store has remained popular for over a decade, but like many other black-owned stores, they need help getting back on their feet in 2020. Owner Tod Wilson has been a baker since a young age, assisting with his godfather’s baking business in Paterson, NJ. The bakery is shifting its focus to online orders due to the pandemic, and you can place your first order here.
Jersey City, NJ
Another clothing shop based in Jersey City, this store offers an assortment of modern sports apparel and distinct accessories. For orders over $125, you can plug the code ‘OVER125’ on their website for a nice discount. This apparel shop is one of many black-owned stores in Central Jersey looking to expand their brand.
One of the shops featured on the list that I’ve been able to visit (their stuff is seriously delicious, and conveniently right by my college), this bakery specializes in cakes for special occasions. Usually catering for weddings, dessert tables and other special events, you can check out their gallery of delicious and impressive cakes here.
Featured in NPR due to the pandemic’s negative influence on their business, this bookstore has remained an ally to persons of color everywhere during the nationwide protests. Many of their books, specifically in political education, have been given a decent boost in notability due to their relevance to our country’s current state. To support the only black-owned bookstore in all of Newark, consider donating to their GoFundMe.
The only non-profit organization on this list, this school works to educate its students in the fine and performing arts, as well as stage and production management. Founded by Kenyani Henderson, the group offers classes on different forms of dance, ranging from jazz to tap and ballet to hip-hop. SoulXpressiion is currently offering online classes for their services, which you can view the schedule for here.
Our last business on the list, this studio focuses on luxury wedding movies, highlighting the most special moments from romantic events. Spearheaded by the cinematographic genius of Ben & Natasha Davis, the couple has traveled worldwide to document weddings, as well as different brands and people, most notably actor and director Jabari Gray. You can view their catalog of work here.
There are plenty more black-owned stores outside of these 13 that need your support right now as well. If you’re a Hudson County citizen, check out this Instagram thread to see a list of these retail stores.
About the Author/s
Jack Oliver is an aspiring writer, and is so thrilled to be part of The Digest's team. He also works as an editor at GenZ Publishing. Previous accolades include a published play by Lazy Bee Scripts ("Coming of Age").