JUDI HENDERSON TOWNSEND, OWNER MANNEQUIN MADNESS
KATREECE STONE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR HEAD OVER HEELS
JACQUI LOVE MARSHALL, VIRTUAL ASSISTANT AT MANNEQUIN MADNESS
We are the three people behind this site:
When we decided to start this directory we had no idea what we would discover. Or how much time it would take, although we thoroughly enjoyed the process. We are thrilled to provide you with so many options for supporting Black-owned businesses.
This project started quite casually. Someone requested on the “Next Door” app in Katreece’s neighborhood (a primarily white section of Oakland) for recommendations for local Black-owned businesses. This was right after the George Floyd/Black Lives Matter protests in June 2020.
The responses were so limited – mainly restaurants, clothing stores, a realtor and an insurance agent. We were saddened that people didn’t know that there was a much broader variety of Black businesses nearby to shop in person or online. So we decided to compile our own list to post on “Next Door.”
We sought out businesses that typically do not appear on Black business lists because what they do (e.g. stained glass window repair company) or where they do it (open a BBQ restaurant in Calistoga). We decided to call these business owners Black Unicorns because they are so rare and unusual.
Once we had a list of 20 businesses we put them in a PDF document and created a logo for the cover page. But, before we had a chance to post the document on “Next Door,” we had an “a-ha” moment.
In the process of searching for Black Unicorns, we had scanned a lot of Black business directories and had been disappointed with what we found. Either the directories had a very specific geographic range (Oakland only, San Francisco only) or they focused on only a few industries, typically restaurants. Several were cumbersome to navigate.
The directories that covered a larger geographic area or included more types of businesses usually charged a listing fee or required membership in their organization. So this kept a lot of businesses from being included. We realized there was a need for a comprehensive directory, that was free for businesses to list in, that showcased all the Black-owned businesses in Northern California.
So what started out as a PDF document with 20 Black Unicorn business evolved to this website with more than 1,000 listings. The three of us have lived in the Bay Area for a combined total of over 90+ years (although, alas, Jacqui moved to Florida in May 2020). But none of us had any idea there were so many Black-owned businesses in the area.
We hope you find discovering them — and shopping with them — as exciting as we did in creating this directory.
Please follow our facebook page , where daily, we will profile a Black business owner from this directory.