PW picks | Black in biz 2020

A compilation of some of our favorite black and brown businesses throughout Philadelphia

The smiling face of Ariell Johnson, owner of Amalgam Comics, along Frankford Avenue is the first black-owned comic book store on the East Coast. | Image: Jeff Fusco Photography

Philadelphia’s black business scene is small by comparison to other cities of its size, but mighty as hell in its scope.

We’d need way more time and in-house manpower to drop the impact of these businesses on Philadelphia’s economic engine, but we compiled a small sampling of some of our favorite Philadelphia-based black-owned businesses.

If you’re looking for a comprehensive list, black-owned consulting and promotions firm Beech Companies just released the 2019-20 Black Business Directory, listing everything from beauty supply to fashion, to auto repair. 

Freedom Apothecary

Holistic wellness is the goal of this Northern Liberties brick-and-mortar owned by Bonkosi Alyssa Horn and Morrisa Jenkins. This clean, airy storefront offers a host of skin and facial care products, CBD oils, scrubs and salts and the workshops and blend bars to educate on all of the above. | 736 N. 2nd St. freedomapothecary.com/ 

Reggae, Reggae Vibes

This Girard Avenue Jamaican restaurant understands the need to diversify its menu and is probably a main reason why it appeals to the masses. If you’re looking for authentic Jamaican cuisine, the rice and peas, steamed callaloo and oxtail is divine. On the other hand, if you don’t want to go that deep and you’re simply looking for a Philly staple with a Jamaican flair, the Jamaican Jerk cheesesteak is truly worth every penny.  | 517 W. Girard Ave. reggaereggaevibes.com 

Denise’s Bakery

There’s a reason lines some days are almost around the block outside this North Philly bakery. It’s because the cakes, pies and doughnuts produced by owner Denise Gause and her team are that damn good. Yes, she also does wedding cakes and yes, she also does catering and finally, hell yes, it’s worth giving this spot a call for all of the above. | 2916 N. 22nd St.  cakesbydenises.com

Common Ground

The rare finds in this store make it worth the trip. Looking for a colorway of Js that are hard to get or that’ll set you apart from the rest? If Phillip Moore doesn’t have it inside his Center City shop, trust us when we say he can get it. High-end haberdashery that sparks conversation is what you’ll most certainly find in this shop. | 134 S. 11th St. commonground12.com

Urban Art Gallery

Fine art is great but art that speaks to the community is the kind we’re fans of. That’s the kind of flair you’ll find at this West Philly-based gallery which, in addition to being a showcase for artists of all types, also offers free youth art programming, violin classes and routinely hosts live performances and workshops. | 262 S. 52nd St. urban-artgallery.com 

The Sauce Door to Door mobile detailing

The name is exactly what it sounds like. Owner/CEO James Smith and his team will come to wherever you are both in Philadelphia and within the greater Philadelphia Region and hook your car up. What’s intriguing is that they boast doing an “eco-friendly waterless car wash,” which by name alone has us very intrigued. | 215-815-4459. twitter.com/thesauce_b  

Philadelphia Hair Company 

The barbershop is always the place for not only a legit haircut but the hub for all things dealing with pop culture, politics and more. Perhaps that’s why this particular Germantown-based shop can boast having the likes of Will Smith, Denzel Washington and members of the Philadelphia Eagles walk through their door almost every season. | 5805 Germantown Ave. philadelphiahairco.com 

The Silk Tent

Offering jewelry from the African Diaspora and beyond, you’ll most definitely find a conversation piece inside this shop. Owner Rashida Wilson has created a welcoming and uber-friendly vibe and is ready to educate you on each and every piece inside her store. There are also unique artifacts too if you’re into collecting. | 3860 Lancaster Ave. thesilktent.com

Brickhaus Group, LLC 

This general contracting firm is black, woman-owned and can handle both commercial and residential renovation from demolition to construction. Shirlesa Baido is the owner and will come to check out your job – especially if the remodel is a kitchen or a bathroom, which is this outfit’s specialty. | ssbrickhaus.com   

Siddiq’s Real Fruit Water Ice

Siddiq Moore and his real fruit water ice started out as a cart that would peruse the campus of Temple University and has turned into a distinct brand people tell us has revolutionized the water ice industry. Moore and his team have grown from a cart at Temple into a fleet that people know by name. | 264 N. 60th St. siddiqswaterice.com/ 

  • Kerith Gabriel's Headshot

    Kerith Gabriel is the former editor-in-chief at Philadelphia Weekly but somehow hasn’t figured out that means he doesn’t have to write nearly as much. As a routine contributor, journalism has been in his blood since his beginnings as a sports writer over a decade ago for the Philadelphia Daily News.