This is amazing.
After D.C. entrepreneur Angel Gregorio opened her specialty spice shop, the Spice Suite, she created a retail community for Black-owned businesses in the D.C. Langdon neighborhood.
Black and Forth is the name she gave the space, which had its soft launch at 2201 Channing St. NE.
"It was just this catchy, cool name that I created for how I describe my process of going back-and-forth with Black business owners," Gregorio tells DCist/WAMU. "And now it is the name of a shopping center — a strip mall — that I own in D.C. So I feel good about that and I'm grateful to be in the space."
Her spice shop will be joined by various other salon businesses that provide hair, nail, waxing, and braiding services in the next three to four weeks. As reported by NBC4, the owner of one of the businesses, Nail'd It, had been operating her nail salon from her apartment for the past six years.
"We have a lot of conversation about affordable housing, but we don't talk enough about making commercial space affordable for Black women. And so since no one is talking about it, I'm just going to do it and let people talk about it," says Gregorio.
As part of Black and Forth, Gregorio plans to open a farmers market in the spring, where Black farmers can sell produce and other goods. For now, Spice Suite is open Thursday through Sunday and will sell familiar items such as seeds, honey, and spices that will be familiar to past patrons.
"The goal of this space is to build community," says Gregorio.
The beautiful community building by Angel Gregorio is setting an example that will greatly benefit the Black community, and we can't wait to see Black and Forth's future growth.