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Black-owned Businesses in Cleveland

During Black History Month, check out these great local spots in Cleveland!

Written by Emma Smallwood

Cleveland is a city built through the achievements, advancements, and breakthroughs of Black citizens. As early as 1860, Cleveland had a flourishing Black community, which was mostly centered on the east side of the city. In the 1960s, the Black community of Cleveland fought for equality and an end to police brutality in the Hough Riots of 1966. In 2020, a reminiscent event occurred downtown — on May 30, hundreds of Cleveland residents banded together to protest the unjust murder of George Floyd by police forces. From Toni Morrison to Zelma Watson George, Black Cleveland residents have been developing this city since its inception. In 2024, Black-owned businesses across the Cleveland area are driving forward ingenuity and resourcefulness in our society. Check out this list of Black-owned businesses to visit this Black History Month, and throughout the year!

"In 2024, Black-owned businesses across the Cleveland area are driving forward ingenuity and resourcefulness in our society."

Framed Gallery

Framed Gallery, in the Waterloo art district, is an African American art gallery that displays “emerging, mid-career and established artists creating contemporary works on paper, painting, graphite drawings and assemblage.” Open Wednesday through Saturday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., this gallery is an amazing place to check out incredible artwork created by Black Clevelanders — and with numerous exhibitions, there is always something new to see. 

Coco’s Selfie Studio

Coco’s Selfie Studio, or Coco’s Chalky Powder, is located in the Fifth Street Arcade in downtown Cleveland. Coco’s boasts over 70 unique selfie sets, spreading across 25,000 square feet, and can accommodate up to 200 guests. This space can be rented out, but walk-ins are also welcome! Coco’s Selfie Space began as Coco’s Chalky Powder, and is cited as the “spark that ignited [their] iconic … selfie space.” Coco, the owner and namesake of the shop, is also known for bringing new life to old furniture and donating it to families in need. This philanthropic pasttime is what led to Coco’s Chalky Paint being created, when Coco researched cost-cutting solutions to create her own chalky paint.

Sauce the City

Sauce the City is home to Ohio’s #1-ranked hot chicken sandwich, and as they write on their website, “food experts shower us with 5-foot tall trophies.” Victor, the founder of Sauce the City, established his “Signature Line of Sauces” when he was a sophomore at Kent State University, and quickly gained popularity through bringing his sauces to local festivals, expos and fairs. Now, years later, Victor has opened multiple Sauce the City locations, including one in Cleveland Heights, one in FirstEnergy Stadium and one inside Rocket Mortgage Field House. Victor works closely with the Urban League of Cleveland to help overcome the challenges of the changing business field. Sauce the City is now a corporate partner with the NBA, NFL and ARAMARK. 

The Vegan Doughnut Company

While the Vegan Doughnut Company only offers vegan donuts, their flavor offerings are vast and plentiful. The Vegan Doughnut Company began as a home-based family business, run by sisters Kharisma and Kyra Mayo. The sisters became fully vegan in 2014 and realized the lack of vegan doughnut options in Northeast Ohio. Looking to rectify this issue, they began experimenting with various recipes before opening up their first shop in downtown Lakewood in 2018. As mentioned on their website, “The Vegan Doughnut Company is the first and only 100% vegan doughnut shop.” 

Zanzibar Soul Fusion

Zanzibar Soul Fusion, located in the heart of historic Shaker Square (and now downtown Cleveland!), dates back to 1985. Founder of Angie’s Soul Cafe, Angie, created the recipes that would one day be incorporated in the Zanzibar restaurants in the kitchen of the Carnegie Hotel. Partnered with Executive Chef Willie, Zanzibar Soul Fusion now offers a full menu of Carolinas Southern cuisine. Some of the most popular offerings at Zanzibar include catfish fingers, fried green tomatoes, chicken and waffles, and smothered chops. 

Bloom & Clover

Bloom & Clover, based in Cleveland, is a brow bar and waxing studio “dedicated to creating an inclusive, body-positive space for hair removal and enhancement.” Bloom & Clover (B&C) offers a full range of cosmetic enhancement services, along with waxing. B&C cites comfort and privacy as their main objectives, and they use a variety of high quality and hygienic products. B&C aims to allow people to find empowerment through expression — and to help people feel comfortable in their own skin. 

Support local, Black-owned businesses this Black History Month — but don’t stop there. Support Black-owned businesses throughout the entire year and see all the amazing shops, eateries and galleries that Cleveland has to offer. This list is certainly not exhaustive, and with so many amazing Black-owned businesses in the Cleveland area, you’re doing a disservice to yourself not to check out some of these wonderful places. From some incredible dining options to luxury spas, Cleveland does have it all.

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