In honor of Black History Month, we’re spotlighting five of the amazing Black-owned local businesses in Richmond. Richmond has long had a thriving community of Black-owned businesses thanks in part to the resiliency of Jackson Ward neighborhood.
Originally established by European immigrants attracted by its proximity to the retail hub of the city, Jackson Ward became an enclave for former enslaved persons and freed Blacks following the Civil War and during Reconstruction. The neighborhood eventually grew to become a thriving epicenter for Richmond’s Black community, serving as a center of both enterprise and entertainment.
Known as the “birthplace of African-American entrepreneurship,” Jackson Ward hit its stride as one of the most significant Black neighborhoods in the country during the 1920s through the 1940s. Residents built a thriving and self-sustaining business community, anchored in part by the chartering of St. Luke Penny Saving Bank by Maggie Walker, that was often referred to as “Black Wall Street.” St. Luke’s found its footing in providing loans to those who were often rejected by traditional banks, particularly Black doctors, lawyers, and entrepreneurs.
In the 1950s, parts of Jackson Ward were demolished to make way for the construction of I-95, which would ultimately sever the vibrant neighborhood from the rest of the city – proving disastrous for the community and its businesses.
Today, while many have spread beyond the boundaries of Jackson Ward, Black-owned businesses continue to face some of the same problems as they did back then, as well as added stressors brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bateau: Named for the flat-bottomed boats that used to traverse Richmond’s canals, this elegant private and corporate event space situated on the canal walk offers an unrivaled location coupled with a sophisticated dining experience specializing in wine and coffee service.
Ruby Scoops: This elevated ice cream shop located in Brookland Park features unique small batch flavors that have garnered national attention with Food & Wine Magazine proclaiming the frozen treats good enough to plan an entire trip to Richmond around.
Pop of Confetti: The perfect spot for a thoughtful gift, this Carytown boutique features handmade products from more than 20 women-owned businesses who curate a whimsical shopping experience sure to surprise and delight.
Joyebells Sweet Potato Pies: Based on a recipe handed down through six generations of women in founder Joye B. Moore’s family, Joyebells Sweet Potato Pies can now be found in Sam’s Club and Food Lion nationwide as well as locally in Good Foods Grocery and The Market at 25th.
Lindsey Food Group: One of Richmond’s fastest-growing restaurant stars, Lindsey Food group, helmed by Chef Mike Lindsey and his wife, Kim, the group has opened a slew of celebrated restaurants in recent years, including Lillie Pearl, Buttermilk and Honey, Jubilee, Bully Burger, and ML Steak.