Daily file photo by Colin Boyle
In 2015, three Evanston business owners founded Black Business Consortium Evanston North Shore, with a mission to connect black business owners and provide support, resources and technical assistance.
The Consortium now supports black business across all nine wards of Evanston. The group hosts workshops for black entrepreneurs, organizes bus tours and creates an annual directory of black-owned businesses.
Black-owned businesses have seen increased support in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death and subsequent protests. Google searches for “black-owned businesses” surged exponentially in June.
Black entrepreneurs face systemic barriers to economic success. For example, a 2017 study found that banks were twice as likely to offer white entrepreneurs help with their small business loan applications compared to black entrepreneurs.
Here are 23 black-owned Evanston clothing stores and restaurants to support. For a more comprehensive list of black-owned businesses in the area, see the Consortium’s directory.
Classy Closet Consignment is “Chicago’s premier source for luxury consignment.” They are currently accepting appointments for new and gently used designer items. The store boasts name brands like Louis Vuitton and Stuart Weitzman at an affordable price.
Address: 701 Washington St.
FABB Athletic Wear is a female sportswear company that aims to “to inspire every female young and old to pursue their dreams.” FABB stands for “Feminine And Built to Ball.” Clothing from FABB Athletic Wear can be bought online.
Frontline North sells books, cultural apparel, natural body and hair care products, incense and oils, crystals, jewelry, music and art. The store has hosted open-mic nights and book signings highlighting black artists, and their motto is “ready for liberation.”
Address: 609A Howard St.
Fresh Prints of Evanston offers screen printing and custom apparel. Customers can request personalized designs on clothing items such as shirts, hats, hoodies, bags, tanks, etc. Delivery in the Evanston area is free.
Minouchic Boutique is an upscale resale boutique that carries clothing, accessories, shoes, as well as paintings. The founders, Mai Toussaint and Marie Lynn Toussaint, are sisters. A majority of artwork in the store was painted by Haitian artist Herold Alvares, who was born without arms and paints with his feet and mouth.
Address: 1900 Asbury Ave.
Paparazzi Accessories sells fashionable and affordable accessories that are all priced at $5. Customers can choose classy and chic looks without spending a fortune.
Pier’s Emporium sells bejeweled t-shirts. In the past, designs have included jewels that spell out the Chicago Bears, “Nope Not Today” and “Becoming” – in reference to Michelle Obama’s autobiography.
Stepping Out on Faith Consignment Shop offers a variety of clothes, ranging from the designer brands to the basics. The store sells secondhand clothing, shoes and accessories. A portion of the profits goes to Connection for the Homeless and aims to help vulnerable women get into the workplace.
Address: 1632 Orrington Ave.
Rena’s Collection is an online women’s clothing boutique that strives to provide women with clothes in which they would feel confident. The store “started off as just a dream of (the owner) to give women the hottest fashion.”
We R Beautiful is an online store which sells a variety of merchandise, including African American jigsaw puzzles, African American note cards, country flags and clothes.
WeTreeHuggers is a company that sells accessories and apparel that support cannabis enthusiasts. Among its products are hemp rolling papers as well as logo t-shirts.
C&W Market and Ice Cream Parlor is a neighborhood ice cream store providing an assortment of goods and fresh items with Homer’s homemade ice cream.
Address: 1901 Church St.
Claire’s Korner is a Jamaican restaurant located on the west side of Evanston. Some of its popular dishes include Jamaican ox tail and jerk chicken.
Address: 1827 Emerson St.
Cold Stone Creamery is an ice cream chain which provides design-your-own creations. The creamery also sells smoothies and cakes, and their signature process of preparing ice cream is on a frozen granite stone.
Address: 1611 Sherman Ave.
Da Jerk Pit serves Jamaican soul food “in a family style restaurant environment.” The restaurant offers fried catfish, jerk pork, etc.
Address: 2430 Main St.
Good to Go Jamaican Cuisine offers Caribbean food with tropical juices and craft beer. There is live reggae every Friday night.
Address: 711 Howard St.
Harold’s Chicken serves meals of fried chicken and sides. They also offer fried fish, liver and gizzard dinners, and “party buckets.”
Address: 337 Howard St.
Hecky’s Barbecue is a restaurant offering BBQ made with family recipes since 1983. “It’s the Sauce! (And so much more.)” Its founder, Hecky Powell, was a lifelong resident but died in May due to complications from COVID-19.
Address: 1902 Green Bay Rd.
Jennifer’s Edibles serves American and Jamaican soul food with ingredients sourced fresh from local farmers’ markets. The restaurant also works with local groups to provide meals for the homeless.
Address: 1623 Simpson St.
Kingston Grill Restaurant serves authentic Jamaican food. Popular menu items include their oxtails and butter beans and fried plantains.
Address: 1164 Dodge Ave.
Ovo Frito Cafe puts a Latino twist on traditional brunch dishes. The restaurant serves salads, sandwiches, burgers, eggs, omelettes, pancakes, waffles and french toast.
Address: 1936 Maple Ave.
Taste of Jamaica serves jerk chicken, oxtail, jerk catfish, curry goat and more. The Jamican restaurant also offers sides such as plantains, cabbage and beef patties.
Address: 741 Howard St.
YoFresh Yogurt Cafe serves a variety of healthy meals, including sandwiches, soups, salads, bakery items, coffee and frozen yogurt. The owners, Jean and Larry Murphy, are committed to community engagement. The cafe sends free yogurt to local seniors every Friday.
Address: 635 Chicago Ave. #7
Twitter: @hannah_feuer and @Rayna52637952
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– As “business as usual” remains a long way off, C&W Market & Ice Cream Parlor remains a source for basic necessities
– “A home away from home”: Jennifer’s Edibles celebrates hard work