Meriden blogger suggests 5 Black-owned businesses to support all year long



Editor’s Note: This story is part of a series marking Black History Month. 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 online presence of major corporations during Black History Month?

While the intentions are usually coming 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 sign of Black empowerment or activism coming from the corporation. 

An excellent way to show solidarity is to support local Black-Owned businesses. To show some love to some amazing businesses and help them thrive all year long, check out the list below. 

AmericanSoul Kitchen & Bar, 164 Scott St, Meriden

Whether you are looking for a quick drink after work or hosting a large family gathering, AmericanSoul Kitchen Bar & Grill is a hidden gem that’s accommodating for all types of vibes. The incredible comfort food combined with a chic bar and lounge area serve as a warm welcome for all visitors who pass through the doors. Try the Bottomless Mimosas on the weekend! This spring, keep your eyes peeled for new hours and potentially new menu items. Try something new and support a local Black-owned business in east Meriden. 

Trey's Barbershop, 101 Center St, Southington

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, who pride themselves in doing good work that speaks for itself, regardless of race, background, or otherwise. This shop has a loyal clientele that keeps coming back again and again.

Wayne Edwards Production (based in Southington)

Emmy-winning Wayne Edwards, collegiate 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 a few strengths that Edwards brings to every project.

When asked to reflect on the success of his business, he mentioned his passion for leading the next generation. His students at the University of New Haven are often invited and encouraged to join Edwards on his business endeavors as a way to gain priceless hands-on knowledge with some of the best tools in the industry. Regarding the opportunities his business provides for students, Edwards says, “I’m able to offer real, practical 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

“Being a Black-owned business is not only a blessing but an honor.” says Drew Durant, owner of Mind, Body and Soulfood in downtown Meriden. A family-owned and operated establishment, the Mind, Body & Soulfood team have brought their dreams to life in the city they’ve called home for years.  

Durant commented on how exciting it is to be a Black-owned business, especially after growing up in a time where it was so rare to see any in the Meriden community. Regarding the restaurant experience overall, Durant continued, “We work hard to bring a piece of our culture to local dining In the city for everyone and look forward to continuing to bring the city together over a good meal. We are thankful and appreciate all the support we have gotten and continue to revive from this community.”

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 nights away in her dance studio, Alisa's House of Salsa in New Haven, she can be found crafting Rhythm. Rhythm, Bowens-Mercado’s lager named for her passions in life, can be purchased at her New Haven dance studio or through the “Rhythm Finder” section of her company’s website, which will help beer-lovers locate the closest place to pick up a pack! Brewed with South African hops by the first African-American woman in the state to brew, Rhythm is a true Connecticut gem that should not go unnoticed! 

There are so many ways to celebrate, listen to, and support the Black community everyday – even just a small sign can speak volumes. However you choose to honor Black History Month, try to consider uplifting local Black-owned businesses all year long! 

Francesca Fontánez is a Meriden-based journalist, educator, and creative. A graduate of both the University of New Haven and the University of Bridgeport, she is happy to be back in Meriden writing about the city she loves and surrounding areas. When she's not teaching ELA at Washington Middle School she's either exploring the Eastern seaboard for her lifestyle blog (@ eastsidevibes on Instagram) or working on music for her band, Cessa and The Zach. Email Francesca at eastsidevibeswithcess@gmail.com with tips on what you want to read about next, or just to say hi!

 



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