For the past year, small business owners have had to adapt in order to stay open amid a global pandemic. Here is a small sampling of some small Black owned businesses that have adapted to continue to offer their services during these difficult times.
Legendz Barbershop, 246 W. Main Street
After working at other shops, Krystal Jones decided to open up her business in April 2015.
Amid the pandemic, Jones said Legendz Barbershop has been using a lot of precaution to stay open.
“A lot of disinfecting, a lot of bleach,” Jones said. “Face masks, disposable capes. People aren’t waiting inside. We aren’t doing mustaches. We are doing beards, but we’re not doing mustaches. People can’t take their face masks from over their nose and mouth. Just to keep things safe.”
Brosily Bath and Body
Navine Acevedo started Brosily Bath and Body in 2014 as a side business. Its main goal is to help people take care of their skin without using toxic ingredients.
“We use a lot of herbs, plant based ingredients, basic ingredients such as coconut oil, olive oil, so stuff that you actually could use to eat and cook with,” Acevedo said. “We use mango butter in our products to help nourish your skin and moisturize. Aromatherapy to help just uplift your mood.”
Acevedo started the business because her daughter had severe eczema and the store bought items they used caused flare ups, she said. Acevedo then started to research alternatives.
Brosily Bath and Body is an online only store, so Acevdeo has been doing a lot of online marketing to attract more customers during the pandemic.
Holloman Real Estate LLC, 866 N. Main Street
When Andre Holloman bought his first home in 2008, his realtor told him that he could be a good real estate agent. During the Great Recession, he decided to give it a try.
Holloman said one of his main goals is to help people understand real estate.
“Being able to help people that are my age and look like me understand how to use real estate as a vehicle to put themselves in a position for general wealth and generational wealth and also to change the history of what they had in their family,” Holloman said. “A lot of people didn’t have home ownership and didn’t come from a family of homeowners. They were the first of their family to do so.”
Wayne Edwards Production
In 2013, Wayne Edwards II started his business after being laid off from ESPN as a way to make some extra money before finding another full time job. Now, the side business allows him to also work as a professor at the University of New Haven.
He does a lot of work for nonprofit organizations, such as Girl Scouts of Connecticut.
“The business is pretty much creating marketing videos for small businesses and nonprofit businesses,” Edwards said. “It’s enough so that I can keep my full time job as a professor, but also have this on the side to supplement.”
His business has changed, but is still successful during the pandemic.
“Businesses that kind of don’t adapt or are supportive of the old ways of doing things aren’t going to work,” Edwards said.
Pure Spa, 25 Maple St.
The pandemic delayed the opening of Pure Spa from March to August.
Chrystal Moore studied at the Institute of Aesthetics Arts and Sciences in Southbury, worked in the industry for 12 years and then got a degree in Sociology at Post University before starting the business.
“I have a little cozy spa studio in the Plantsville section of Southington and I offer personalized one on one spa treatments, so I do facials, body treatments and organic nail care,” Moore said.
Her plans to offer in-home services for the elderly or disabled were changed due to the pandemic, but she continues to serve clients in her shop.
“I had to increase the PPEs, I ended up taking a few courses to make sure that I am certified in sanitation and sterilization practices to make sure everybody stays safe,” Moore said. “I upped the cleaning... added a lot of extra things to make sure that the sanitation practices are top notch.”
Smitten Kitten Beauty, 1089 S. Main Street
Katherine Medley had been a nurse for 10 years, but always wanted to start her own business. After she got lash extensions for the first time, she decided she wanted to learn how to do them herself and then learned other services, such as lash lifts, tint brow shapings and tint and full body waxing. This is how her now three-year-old business, Smitten Kitten Beauty, was started.
“I started it out of nowhere … I started out in a little room in a Pilates studio and now I’m located in the plaza on South Main Street,” Medley said.
She shut in March because of the pandemic and reopened in June, Medley said 2020 was a great year for her business because of community support.
“I feel like I did really well considering not being able to work for three months,” she said.
Healing Springs Wellness Center, 555 Highland Ave.
After being in dysfunctional relationships that affected her self esteem, Shawniel Chamanlal went through her own healing process that consisted of counseling and energy healing. Through her journey, Chamanlal met other women that had similar experiences and wanted to heal .
“I find that in my community there weren't a lot of therapists that look like me and also provided quality trauma recovery so I really wanted to provide that to my community and really reduce the stigma around mental health,” Chamanlal said.
Chamanlal started her business Healing Springs Wellness Center about a year ago and has two therapists working with her. They specialize in anxiety, depression and trauma and healing through mind, body and spirit using evidence based strategies and mindfulness.
Because of the pandemic, Chamanlal is running her business online through an electronic system called Simple Practice.
“All you have to do is reach out for a consultation and then you fill out the paperwork online through a secure portal and then we set up a link where you can go in and have your session and meet with a therapist,” Chamanlal said. “It's very easy to use on your phone, your tablet or your laptop.”
Samantha Annette Photography, 8 Massimo Drive
After she was laid off from a job in 2011, Samantha Schannon utilized her passion for photography as a stress reliever. She started off by photographing birds and nature, but people that followed her Facebook photography page started to ask her to take photos of them. At first, Schannon declined, but then she decided to give it a try.
“A very persistent friend said, ‘I’ll give $40 for gas or something or dinner if you do it,’” Schannon said. “At the time, I was collecting unemployment. I figured what the heck? Why not? I went and I photographed her daughter and it was a lot of fun.”
Schannon then started to photograph her friends and their families for $40. She had a chance to return to her old job, but decided to stick with photography. She took courses and opened her business in January 2014.
Because of the pandemic, Schannon did not take any business from March until September.
“It has impacted me greatly,” Schannon said. “Before COVID started, I was on pace for my best year...It’s hard because I am photographing people and that involves no masks.”