A list of Muskegon-area Black-owned businesses you should support this February and throughout the rest of the year.
2020 challenged every American, but our BIPOC friends and neighbors faced unique challenges virtually unheard of in other communities. And they’ve encountered these challenges for centuries.
February is Black History Month, a time to honor the important role Black Americans have played in American history and in our communities every day.
Timber stands for equality, justice, and humanity for our Black coworkers, community, and partners. Perhaps the most powerful and meaningful way to support the Black community is by supporting Black-owned businesses.
That’s why we’ve compiled a list of Muskegon-area Black-owned businesses that we want you to support.
Lott on the Lakeshore
Phyllis Loudermill-Watson originally opened Lott on the Lakeshore in Muskegon’s Lakeside neighborhood to give locals southern cooking and soul food. But after listening to residents, Phyllis, along with her partner Angela Turner, overhauled the eatery’s theme and menu. Today, Lott on the Lakeshore offers a sub-$10 menu that includes tasty waffle sandwiches, Philly Steak & Cheese Eggrolls, and their famous Rock the Boat loaded fries.
Phyllis’s local eatery captures the tastebuds of Michiganders, but she has a bigger purpose. Lott on the Lakeshore is creating career paths for formerly incarcerated women.
An all-women crew staffs her restaurant, and many of her team members were once incarcerated. Today, they need help to enhance their future employability, and fortunately, Phyllis is ready, willing, and able to assist.
Soul Filled Kitchen at The Hideout
Muskegon-raised Chef Lakisha Harris wants to ease your pandemic-related stress with comfort food.
Her Muskegon Heights eatery, Soul Filled Kitchen (inside The Hideout kitchen), serves comfort staples and signature Southern dishes. Harris stacks her menu with classics like burgers and mac n’ cheese, alongside Southern staples like catfish, gumbo, and jambalaya. Harris even manages to give a new spin on the uniquely-Muskegon classic, barbecue turkey knuckles.
Chef Lakisha is committed to bringing people together over good food, and she also encourages locals to give back through a weekly signature salad challenge. Amateur chefs compete to prove their salad-making prowess, and a portion of proceeds from the top-selling salad goes to the winner’s selected charity.
The Beat on WUVS 103.7 FM
Paul Allan Billings founded 103.7’s The Beat and his nonprofit, The West Michigan Community Help Network, to give Muskegon-area people a place to learn, engage and find assistance.
Billings’ wants to bring the community together by providing education around issues impacting Muskegon’s citizens. He also provides critical resources for less-fortunate community members and organizes food drives, community concerts, job fairs, and mentorship programs.
And his tireless efforts haven’t gone unnoticed; in 2019, Muskegon honored Billings with the city’s Outstanding Citizen Award.
Thomas Smith opened Urban Apparel in Muskegon Heights in 2003 because he was tired of hearing that Muskegon residents traveled to Grand Rapids to shop and wanted to keep money in the Muskegon Heights community.
Today, Smith’s mission is to give Muskegon Heights men a source for well-made, affordable clothing. The haberdashery specializes in suits, tuxedos, hats, and shoes.
In addition to delivering quality menswear and exceptional customer service, Urban Apparel is also at the forefront of supporting the Muskegon community. Working with Michigan’s GROW lending, Urban Apparel has helped provide education, resources, and guidance to local small businesses hit hardest by the pandemic.
Thomas Smith is also president of the local Muskegon Heights Optimist Club, which helps local children develop optimism while also teaching them the value of promoting civic involvement and getting involved with local community causes.
Forrest Tax and Accounting Services
A family-owned business based in Muskegon, Forrest Tax and Accounting Services have been providing quality support, continuing education, and straight, authoritative and friendly financial expertise to business owners throughout the community.
CEO Ashley Forrest takes great pride in knowing that her company is able to offer exceptional accounting and bookkeeping services while also being able to educate and mentor clients to help them prepare and establish business plans.