Downtown Partnership of Baltimore is thrilled to announce the entrepreneurs selected for the second cohort of the Black Owned and Operated Storefront Tenancy (BOOST) Program. We’re excited to soon welcome these innovative, Black-Owned businesses to Downtown Baltimore: Bmore Empowered, From Baltimore With Love™ (FBWL), Decorelle, Sacred House, and Smith Co.
Bmore Empowered operates with the mission to create programming for Black girls and women in Baltimore City that provides them with the tools to live empowered lives through leadership, entrepreneurship, and holistic wellness. At the helm of Bmore Empowered are Kieta Iriarte-Amin, Nazaahah Amin, and Hana Pugh; their future storefront location is 5 N Howard St.
From Baltimore with Love
FBWL is an apparel brand created by Brian Dawkins as a declaration to encourage a positive outlook on the city of Baltimore and its residents. FBWL allows customers to represent their city and communicate and offer intentional love. FBWL’s future storefront location is 7 N Howard St.
Décorelle is a luxury interior design firm that retails home furniture and decor coupled with the offering of luxury staging services. Décorelle was created by Elle Odoi and Yvette Pappoe to fill a gap in the interior design market that often fails to capture the middle-income person. Décorelle’s future storefront location is 305 N Howard St.
Sacred House’s second storefront location will provide high-quality herbal products and services to support the health and well-being of the community. Morgan Stokes will sell organic bulk herbs, herbal teas, tinctures, and health products while offering wellness consultations and events. Sacred House’s future storefront location is 417 N Howard St.
Smith Co, led by Qwishuna and Von Smith, is a fashion, music, and lifestyle retail space home of Lobe’ Dangle & Pastels Goods and Co. With its roots in the intersection of music and fashion, Smith Co offers an exclusive range of premium products and services. Smith Co’s future storefront location is 100 W Lexington St.
The Downtown BOOST Program provides up to $50,000 in grants to support build-out and operations for each BOOST business, including a $20,000 BGE Energizing Small Business Grant. In addition to access to funding, the 2023 BOOST Cohort will open physical retail locations in Downtown Baltimore at affordable prices. The program also connects businesses to a robust cohort of experts for technical, legal, accounting, and marketing services.
“The impetus of BOOST is to level the playing field for Black entrepreneurs who have historically had significantly less access to capital and funding, as well as to fill the gaps of Downtown retail which has been downward trending since before COVID-19,” stated Shelonda Stokes, President of Downtown Partnership of Baltimore.
“On the heels of the success of our first cohort, we’re proudly and confidently welcoming the newest Downtown Baltimore tenants into their very own brick-and-mortar retail spaces. Each of these businesses possesses the heart, grit, and passion to ignite change, further their mission, and create jobs in the core of our City. I believe the best is yet to come for them and for our Downtown.”
A new aspect of the BOOST Program for 2023 is the preselected storefronts for the cohort to choose from. The strategic location of these storefronts was to establish a sense of community between the future tenants while adding vibrancy specifically to the Bromo Arts District along the Howard Street corridor. Additionally, in partnership with The Cube Cowork, DPOB has revamped its ongoing coaching through the BOOST Accelerator to ensure that businesses have a more robust network of support to help them scale up.
The 2023 BOOST is sponsored by Guinness Open Gate Brewery and supported by BGE. It is also supported by Baltimore Community Lending, Gross Mendelsohn, Real Projectives, Rosenberg Martin Greenberg LLP, Maryland Small Business Development Center, the Small Business Resource Center, and Trout Daniel & Associates.
“Guinness Open Gate Brewery proudly supports the innovative and impactful Downtown BOOST Program created and carried out by the visionaries of Downtown Partnership of Baltimore,” added Michael Donilon.
“Giving back is in Guinness’ DNA, and we’re honored to be able to support such a worthy and strategic initiative in the fight for equity right here in our American backyard.”