CASSANDRA STEC | HR REPORTER | [email protected]
In honor of Black History Month, here are five black-owned companies in the Indianapolis area that you won’t want to be without. From restaurants, bodegas, and cafes to clothing stores and spas, Indianapolis has dozens of black-owned businesses to support this month and every month.
Haven Yoga Studio
309 W 42nd Street
Haven Yoga Studio is a black woman owned spa located a short drive from Butler’s campus. The studio is a place where people of different identities are welcome to practice yoga and wellness together as well as to learn and cultivate fellowship with their peers. The studio tries to focus its programs on the experiences and needs of underrepresented groups.
The studio offers eight different courses as well as various events and training sessions throughout the year. Courses can be attended for a per class fee or membership that can be purchased on their website or in person. In addition to personal memberships and classes, they also host virtual classes and have online memberships. In addition to classes, the studio has a free online support community that can be accessed through the website.
Auboni Hart, a butler graduate in marketing and music industry, took classes at the Haven Yoga Studio after undergoing knee surgery on both knees. She worked with headmaster Charlie, who helped her navigate class while she recovered from the surgery.
“She didn’t hesitate to encourage me to use support equipment called support blocks with her during my session,” said Hart. “She said that many people see support blocks as a crutch, but just like in life, sometimes you need a little support to get stronger.”
Hart also praised the studio for the atmosphere, care, attention, and intent they put into everything they do.
“I 100% recommend Haven Yoga Studios to anyone looking to get started with yoga and anyone who is more experienced but looking for a yoga studio they can call home,” said Hart.
Maxine’s Chicken & Waffles
132 N. East Street
Maxines Chicken & Waffles is a family business founded by the children and grandchildren of the restaurant’s namesake, Maxine Bunnell. The recipes on the menu have been passed down in the Bunnell family for generations. Maxine’s specializes in soul food, especially chicken, seafood and BBQ. They also offer all the traditional soul food sides like collard greens, fried green tomatoes, mac and cheese, and coleslaw.
Lenice Bailey, a freshman in mechanical engineering and astronomy-astrophysics, said Maxine reminded her of Thanksgiving.
“I only went once, but it reminded me of Thanksgiving and all the food my grandma and uncle would cook,” said Bailey. “It was delicious and would definitely come back. It has a Black Thanksgiving atmosphere. “
In addition to their menu, the restaurant offers a range of specialties each week: Every Tuesday through Friday, Maxine’s offers all-day specialties ranging from burgers and wings to chicken tenders to fish baskets.
In addition to catering for private functions, the restaurant also offers The Max Express, which delivers free online orders for those who live in downtown Indianapolis.
Cleos Bodega Grocery Store and Cafe
2432 Doctor MLK Jr Street
Cleos Bodega Grocery and Cafe is 11 minutes from Butler’s campus and includes a bodega and café. Cleo’s bodega food section offers a variety of foods including vegan and vegetarian products. Many of their products are either local, black-owned, or both, such as the Rasta Pops popsicle brand.
On the other side of the building is a large café with free WiFi and the option to dine or take out in the restaurant.
Every second and last Friday of the month “One and Done” specialties take place in the café, which consist of a menu item that is served at 11:00 and is served until it is no longer available. The first “One and Done” special for February consisted of a surf and turf sandwich.
In addition to the “One and Done” specialties, the café section of Cleo’s also offers a variety of smoothies and smoothie specialties, which are usually the most popular products.
Aly Paul, a junior major in physics and biomedical engineering, went to Cleo last year as part of a multicultural Dawg Days activity prior to Welcome Week.
“I loved these smoothies …” said Paul. “I would go back and recommend Cleo’s and one of their smoothies.”
Circle City Soul Food
1164 W. 30th Street
Circle City Soul Food is another local family restaurant that features a menu featuring recipes that have been passed down through the generations. Unlike other companies on this list, Circle City Soul Food is only open on Sundays, meaning they are only open on Sundays.
The menu consists of a variety of traditional soul foods, including highly acclaimed pork chops, corn bread, and potatoes.
The restaurant currently offers takeaway orders, catering for private events, and online orders during the week that can be picked up from their location on Sundays. Some menu items such as fried fish and pork chops are made to order on site.
Blacksheep Collective was founded in 2015 with the intention of expressing faith through art. The couple behind Blacksheep Collective harnessed the combined talents of marketing and design to create a belief-based lifestyle brand.
The online retailer has a wide variety of shirts, sweatshirts, hats and stickers. Some of the messages on the shirts are “love everyone” and “if you don’t have love, you have nothing”. Other pieces on the website consist of various works of art or the company logo.
In addition to original designs, Blacksheep Collective also works with local companies and organizations to create various lines of goods. One such collaboration was with local streetwear brand Nap or Nothing.
Indianapolis is a city with a variety of black owned businesses to cater for all needs. During Black History Month and every other month of the year, think of the myriad black-owned shops in Indianapolis when deciding where to eat, shop or meditate.