Loop flourishes with Black-owned business

Loop flourishes with Black-owned business

Sasha Albright, Staff Writer

The Delmar Loop is a University City cultural hotspot. From Fitz’s to the Pageant, one can find a store for most anything. Interestingly, one might not even know that more than a handful of these stores are Black-owned businesses. 

Through the years, the Loop has become a more welcoming place for Black-owned businesses, or at least Jon “Fleet” Norfleet, co-owner of Wizards Wagon, believes so.

“I would say that I don’t really see it as a challenge, cause I feel there is a draw to [Black owned businesses],” Norfleet said. “When I worked here before I purchased it, people followed me from my old store to come here because you’re a Black person, you look like me, I want to support you. So I see just more positivity versus negativity, but it also helps that we were based in University City for a long time which is a pretty diverse area.” 

Shop owners would agree that being in this diverse area has made it easier for them to be a Black-owned business. Many of these businesses have been contacted by the Buy Black Movement to help with advertising. Norfleet couldn’t tell what business was coming from Buy Black or from another source. 

“It’s hard to gauge what we actually see from [Buy Black Movement], but I do know people keep it in mind so when people know we are a Black-owned business we get the people,” said Norfleet. “But it does help to know that the community running the store also looks like the community that it’s in.”

Xavier Blake, senior, appreciates Black-owned businesses and what they can do for our community.

 “It’s not necessarily that the owner looks like me but that they are actually doing something for their family or community,” said Blake. 

Michael Simmons, junior, finds many reasons to frequent Black-owned businesses.

“I shop at Black-owned businesses because I know that I’m uplifting and supporting businesses that are run by Black people,” said Simmons. “We have to promote each other so that it is possible for us to continue to reach those high level positions. It’s nice to see those who look like you in various specialties because it shows the diversity in thought and experience within the Black community. Seeing successful Black people who own and run businesses displays our creativity and exemplifies the fact that we cannot be boxed in.”