Supporting black-owned businesses across Lincoln during Black Business Month

LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) – Black Business Month takes place during the month of August, and several black-owned businesses across the Lincoln area are celebrating everything they represent.

Some of Lincoln’s hidden gems are places like Lila Mae’s Southern Kitchen and Lounge, a place built around family honoring her great grandmother from Nashville Tennessee and her influence. The owner, Tramesha Cruse, says they have been open for about a year and a half now and has seen a good amount of support from the near south community and beyond.

”We plan on being here for a while, like this isn’t something that we just aren’t dipping our toes and twiddle our thumbs in this is something we are planning to grow and be a part of the community and bring black business to Lincoln,” Cruse said.

For Mary Ellen’s in South Lincoln, they have a similar family-based foundation.

“Our style is family dinner, I equate it after mom, what she cooked for dinner is what you’re going to eat,” Owner, Charles Phillips, said.

Sometimes– smaller businesses– like Mary Ellen’s– just don’t have the resources to advertise the way larger businesses do.

“It’s important to let people know that we’re here,” Charles Phillips, Owner of Mary Ellen’s, said.

Mary Ellen’s started as a food truck, in 2020 they saw overwhelming support. Since then, it has been up and down.

“People made a point to support black businesses; I don’t think that’s the case anymore,” Phillips said.

While the black-owned businesses appreciate the extra support in months like these, the owners believe they should have consistent, year-round attention like any other business.

Sarah Wells owns Sarah’s Southern Comfort Foods LLC and hosts a black-owned business expo during Black History Month. She said black people have not always been accepted in the business world.

“We didn’t have those opportunities so even now there are so many obstacles that we do face like trying to get the same funding and things like that,” Wells said.

For her, the emphasis on black businesses during this month is not to take away from others, but to support businesses that aren’t always in the spotlight.

“We need people to realize that we have great products, great services,” said Wells.

Lincoln has over a dozen black-owned businesses that range from hair services to restaurants. There is something for everyone — and with just a little over a week left in Black Businesses Month, they are here and ready to serve the community.

According to National Today, Black Business Month can be traced back to 2004 when Frederick E. Jordan, an engineering entrepreneur, partnered with the president and executive editor of the scholarly publishing company eAccess Corp,’ John William Templeton, to create the annual event. The website said their purpose was to “drive the policy agenda affecting the 2.6 million African American businesses,” in order to highlight and empower Black business owners all over, especially given the unique challenges faced by minority business owners.

A few Black Businesses in the Lincoln community include:

Mary Ellen’s

Lila Mae’s Souther Kitchen & Lounge

Sarah’s Southern Comfort Foods

Sweet Thing’s By Marcy

A Taste of Louisiana

Snow Rush


Stur 22

Oasis Barber Shop

Zen Salon

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