Collectively, we must continue to raise our voices and educate our kids about the importance of being anti-racist and standing for justice. Another way to directly make a positive impact is to shop with intention, put your money in a meaningful place and support Black-owned businesses in our community and beyond. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite Black-owned businesses in San Diego. From skateboards that double as works of art and America’s #1 black-owned vegan cookie company, to an extraordinary banana pudding from a generations-old secret recipe, a coffee shop that fosters community and a lovely dance studio––read on to learn about amazing businesses owned by exceptional, creative, inventive people.
When one thinks of San Diego's best donuts, Nomad Donut's globally inspired donuts made daily from scratch top the list. Owner and co-founder of Nomad Donuts, Brad Keiller, opened the super popular shop in North Park in 2014. The shop also serves delicious bagels and coffee as well as a wide range of vegan donuts in blissful flavors like vegan lemon poppy seed with caramel drizzle. Go treat your tastebuds today and support this locally owned business.
Dirt Don't Hurt
A trio of sisters, Martiza, Sativa, and Kaya founded Dirt Don't Hurt in 2017. These conscientious moms have six kids between them and during their pregnancies, they started to become more aware of what ingredients were in their personal care and cleaning products. Their line Dirt Don't Hurt was born when they decided to create the safe and natural beauty products they were looking for. Their plant-based products are 100% vegan and cruelty-free and include skincare and oral care. Try their popular All-Natural Activated Charcoal Tooth Powder.
Shotcaller Street Soul Food
Enjoy southern dishes with a twist at Shotcaller Street Soul Food. From bread pudding and BBQ Brisket melts to a mind-boggling variety of loaded mac 'n' cheese bowls, this is comfort food galore. The truly adventurous should try their new spin on the burrito: the Soulritto, which is a burrito stuffed with mac n’ cheese, collard greens, tater tots and meat, chicken or fish. Owners Ron Suel and RaVae Smith also own Suckerfree and Streetcar Merchants if you're in the mood for more creative southern cuisine.
Hammond's Gourmet Ice Cream
Here's the scoop: San Diego State alum AJ Williams purchased wildly popular ice cream shop Hammond’s in the fall of 2019. Treat yourself to an ice cream flight (you can even get a flight of 32!) boasting multiple scoops, because you'll be hard-pressed to choose between over 300 handmade flavors including Chocolate Coconut Macadamia Nut, Lilikoi Sorbet, Peanut Butter and Guava Jelly. Vegan options are available too!
Cane Patch Kitchen
Po'Boys, swamp fries, gumbo, jambalaya and so much more southern comfort food await you at Liberty Public Market's Cane Patch Kitchen. Don't forget to order their homemade Creole delicacy beignets. Additionally, their apple pie recipe has been handcrafted and passed down since 1912, so you know it's got to be good. This restaurant's delicious dishes are compliments of owner Tony Smalls and Ebony Broadway’s family recipes which all date back to the early 1900s. Go grab a good, old-fashioned meal.
CurlyKids & CurlyChic Hair
CurlyKids and their sister brand CurlyChic are black-owned, family-operated out of San Diego, and women-led. The products are available at Target, Walmart, Sally Beauty, Kroger and independent beauty supply stores throughout Southern California and the world!
Maya was looking for the perfect vegan cookie: crispy-on-the-outside and gooey-on-the-inside. Unable to find it, she created a cookie recipe herself. Soon, she was a local celebrity with moms and kids––which inspired her to open Maya’s Cookies. Voted San Diego's Best Vegan Baked Goods in 2017 and 2018, Maya's decadent cookie flavors range from chocolate chip and caramel pecan to funfetti and gluten-free s’ mores. You’ll love them all! Maya's Cookies is now America's #1 Black-owned vegan cookie company.
Be sure to order Maya's cookie collection in honor of Black History Month which features flavors: The First Lady, The Superhero, and Uncle Nearest.
Finesse Skateboard Decks
Steven and Rod James founded a quintessential SoCal business with Finesse, a skate and lifestyle company. Steven James was passionate about art, anime, comic books, and video games growing up. Now, he creates special licensed graphics on skateboards, accessories, and apparel. Finesse encourages youth to follow their dreams and supports talented skaters from coast to coast. Check out the collection online and order an epic deck today. Kids will be especially fond of the Sonic Hedgehog Rings Deck! Follow Finesse on Instagram to get a glimpse of Steven drawing his amazing deck designs.
Extraordinary Banana Pudding
You'll go absolutely bananas for this pudding! Stop by and order up an aptly named extraordinary banana pudding from this recently opened shop. It's the only banana pudding shop in the United States. San Diego native Toran Grays opened this sweet spot in honor of his late great-grandmother's banana pudding recipe. It had been her dream to open a pudding place, and now Gray has brought her dream to life. He wants everyone to enjoy this "American staple" that makes him think of being a kid again whenever he eats it. Made with the finest ingredients, your sweet tooth will be more than satisfied. You’ll also find other creative pudding flavors including pistachio, red velvet, chocolate banana, and butterscotch. Even more, try the banana pudding taco! Additionally, there are gluten-free flavors that change daily.
You must check out their newest flavor, banana cheesecake, which just launched in January. Also, stop by any day between 4 pm - 6 pm for happy hour and receive $2 off any size pudding!
La Mesa, CA 91942
Lovely Leaps dance studio teaches love of movement and inclusion one leap at a time. Lovely Leaps owner Lisa McCabe, an African American engineer turned dance instructor, focuses on making dance fun and developing key motor skills for kids ages 10 months - 10 years by growing their confidence and comfort in their own bodies. More than just a dance studio, Lovely Leaps is a movement of its own. Studio founders Lisa and Ricky McCabe started Lovely Leaps when their daughter was just five months old. Lisa's goal as a dance instructor is to offer a whole-child approach to help kids blossom. She believes dance should focus on fun instead of perfection and she stresses inclusion. The Lovely Leaps team makes sure each child feels seen, heard, and loved in their dance journey.
The studio currently offers both virtual and in-person classes. Click here for class schedules.
301 E Grand Ave.,
Escondido, CA 92025
Craving deep-fried powdered sugar goodness? Order-up beignets at AJ’s food truck. Then, it’s time for a cajun meal. Our faves include the Holy Trinity Slider with smok’d pulled pork and a mac’n saucy cheese on butta’ bread or the Creole chicken bites and mac'n cheese (good for the kiddos!). AJ's food truck pops-up in different spots from 4S Ranch to the Gaslamp neighborhood, and they start delivery soon. Check the website and order today!
This is a great way to get half-pints to drink their veggies (without evening knowing it!) Head out to Blendees in East County or order for delivery to your door (via Doordash). Blendees strives to create quality blends with max health benefits by drinking fruit, veggies, herbs and roots! Plus, they taste delicious. Even more, add-in an Acacia split and you're healthy and happy.
1297 East Main St.
El Cajon, CA 92021
Freshly Faded Barber + Shop
Derrick Banks is the owner of Freshly Faded Barber + Shop in San Diego. He has been cutting hair professionally since 2005 and specializes in fades of any type on any hair texture. He started his shop out of necessity because there wasn’t a shop in San Diego to let him grow into the person he was becoming. He wanted to accurately display the diversity of African-American culture and provide positive representation of that same culture on a platform that is approachable and welcoming. The goal has always been to change the community one haircut at a time. When you step into the shop, they fully immerse you in Art, Music, Incense, Philosophical conversations, and dope haircuts–– which is only a portion of what they do. Schedule an appointment online today!
2850 El Cajon Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92104
In their own words, Cafe X is "more than just coffee, it's a movement to promote healing and communal wealth-building for communities of color inside a sacred space through activism and artivism, in a natural and respectful way, one cup at a time." This worker-owned coffee and co-op seeks to provide a welcoming space for people to learn from each other. In addition to serving up delicious coffee and drinks, Cafe X is built upon an ideology of the ripple effect and its co-owners Cynthia Ajani and Khea Pollard hope to make waves of positive change in the community via thoughtful collaborations.
7220 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA 92115
AC Plumbing Construction
Looking for a plumber? Look no further than AC Plumbing Construction, which was voted the #1 plumbing service in Carlsbad. Their certified and trained plumbers are available 24 hours a day for all of your plumbing and AC needs. They even offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Puzzle Pieces Marketing
Puzzle Pieces Marketing is a marketing agency that works primarily with nonprofits, but also mission-driven businesses. President, Angel Mason Broadus, is an active volunteer in the community as well as a Steering Committee Member, Women United of the United Way of San Diego County and Marketing Committee Chair of the Boys & Girls Club of San Diego. Puzzle Pieces Marketing currently represents Volunteers of America, which provides supportive housing to families with children, as well as The Ballington Academy Charter Schools.
Rhythm & Waffle
San Diego’s first chicken and waffle restaurant, Rhythm & Waffle is located in Pacific Beach. They now offer order and pick up so it's an easy weeknight dinner option for families bustling between sports. Try the famous Chicken and Waffle Sandwich which is fried chicken between a delicious Belgian waffle topped with cheese and bacon. Click here for the full menu.
Got a business you’d like to see included? Email us at email@example.com.
–Nikki Walsh & Beth Shea