Black people make up about 1.2 percent of the Boulder population according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In a growing city, that number can make minorities feel small. More than ever, we have to support businesses run by people of color and especially Black people. And not just this Black History Month but every month because they share their superpowers with Colorado every day of the year.
Brooklyn Barber Academy
Ja’Mal Gilmore’s entry to Boulder proved to be shocking as he looked around for urban people. He saw mountain people and country people, but he was searching for a sign that he could have a thriving business cutting hair in this new place. Like many Black entrepreneurs, he struggled with finding collateral and having process acumen when starting The Brooklyn Barber Academy. Now Gilmore’s business has created the very community he was searching for nearly 20 years ago.
Outworld Brewing is one of the few Black-owned breweries in Colorado. February of 2020 marks the date Outworld’s mission to contribute exceptional craft beer, high-quality culinary offerings, and unique food and beer pairings to Colorado’s gastronomic landscape became a reality. Brenda Fuller says, “From sci-fi themed experiences to movie nights to themed-events, Outworld Brewing was designed as a gathering place for anyone seeking a unique place to experience excellence in food and beer craft and a difference in atmosphere.”
Doni Aldine grew up surrounded by multiple cultures as she lived on various continents. She knows a thing or two about living in the “between” space, therefore she recognizes what it means to not be understood. Aldine forged a path of her own when establishing Culturs Mag by amplifying minoritized voices who straddle identities like culture and race. “Culturs uses media, products, and experiences to celebrate cross-cultural identity because everyone deserves to feel seen,” Aldine says. Their goal is to enhance community and foster human connection for those who have a foot in two worlds.
Mateo & Raglin Market
Boulder’s own Matthew Jansen is a gem on the Boulder restaurant scene. He has contributed to the landscape in various ways but most recently as the owner of his restaurants Mateo and Raglin Market. In both spaces, Jansen is eager to make everyone feel like they are at home when partaking in the elevated dining experience.
Sankofic Gems & Journey
Sankofic Journey exists to eliminate internalized racism at its roots, through quality fact-based black history children’s books. Owner, Mattye Crowley told us, “We aspire to educate, promote healing and reconnecting through quality handmade products from Africa.” This mother didn’t opt for a traditional 9 to 5 giving her the opportunity to create with the purpose of healing and giving a deeper understanding. Crowley's willingness to stand sure-footed in her purpose allows her to also provide for her sons. When asked what it means to be a Black-owned business owner, she says, “It is essential in creating diverse opportunities. It’s a huge responsibility to not only meet expectations but to exceed them consistently.”
Adventurist Soap Co.
The mission of Adventurist Soap Co. stems from Daina Daniels’ vision to create a community for outdoor adventurers and give them a space where they can shop for natural and eco-friendly lifestyle products. She encourages adventure, inspires environmentalism, and enhances well-being because of her love for the outdoor community and conservation. “I think I am fortunate to live in a city that places a high value on support for small minority-owned businesses,” Daniels says. “Being a Black-owned business in my city means that I have the support of my community in the best way, and I am so thankful and fortunate for that.”
After experiencing health struggles after giving birth, Leontyne Ashmore went barefoot as a part of her healing journey in efforts to make her body stronger. She realized that minimalist shoes were a full-proof way to do just that but wanted more stylish options. So, she quit her job to make her own shoes. Ashmore founded Lisbeth Joe “to provide wisdom-defying shoes to those who believe beautiful shoes cannot be both functional and fabulous.” She also told us that she plans to help women in developing countries accomplish their goals by investing in 100 micro-businesses over the next five years.
This month and every month, make sure you capitalize the B in Black. It signifies the strong values and history in the Black community. It signifies the culture that is behind the color. It signifies centuries of courage and resilience.