Spotlight on Black-Owned Businesses

Spotlight on Black-Owned Businesses

By JoAnne Laffey Abed

According to the most recent U.S. Census data, there are more than 2 million Black-owned businesses in the United States; the overwhelming majority of these are small businesses. In fact, only 124,000 Black-owned companies have any employees beyond the proprietor(s). Supporting these businesses doesn’t just advance diversity, equity and inclusion; it also drives local economic progress in a way that benefits all of the Upstate.


We’re excited to highlight a few of Greenville’s black-owned retail businesses. These merchants offer products every savvy shopper needs to discover, and their stories provide a roadmap for other aspiring entrepreneurs.

A. Smith Clothiers

This dapper haberdashery offers everything a well-dressed gentleman needs: custom-tailored suits, pants, shirts, ties, watches, shoes, and bags. A. Smith Clothiers’ focus is on refinement, understated luxury, and top-notch service. Even better, their rolling store can come to you, bringing made-to-measure apparel and accessories with all the trappings – think music, TV, food and drinks, comfy seating, climate control and a restroom – of an in-store shopping excursion.

Foot Solutions

If you work on your feet, exercise, experience foot or knee pain, or simply want to some pep (and comfort) in your step, Foot Solutions is for you. Their pedorthists, the Upstate’s experts in foot wellness, combine caring service, careful analysis, and meticulous evaluation to create advanced recommendations and custom orthotics designed for anyone who sets foot in their store. (See what we did there?)

Their shops are not just businesses, but part of a calling to improve our community and the lives within it.

Gifted Hands Artisan Soap

Founder and head creator Javela Singleton started her boutique, small-batch soap company to focus on avoiding the harmful substances found in many mainstream soaps. With a passion for natural ingredients and a dedication to making people feel indulged and delighted, Javela crafts artisanal handmade soap with fragrances ranging from eucalyptus to lavender, as well as hand-formulated bars, creams, and balms.

Jenauri’s Vegan Bakery

The brainchild of founder and creative baker Jen Evans, Jenauri’s is a heaven for conscious foodies. This from-scratch vegan bakery makes the most delicious, one-of-a-kind sweets crafted entirely of 100% natural, cruelty-free ingredients. Pro tip: Bring a batch of Jenauri’s to-die-for wedding cake cupcakes to your next get-together and watch how quickly they disappear. Who said plant-based had to be boring?

1869 Boutique Liquor and Wine

Located in historic Nicholtown,1869 offers a unique alcohol-buying experience focused on creating memorable events and curating unmatched products.  As the only African-American woman to own a liquor store in Greenville, Pam Singleton prides herself on creating an inviting setting through in-store product tastings, community gatherings, and masterclasses on cooking with wines, grilling with whiskeys, cigar pairings, meat and cheese pairings, and more.

A Polished Man

A Polished Man is Greenville’s one-stop shop for debonair accessories, and the shopping experience is top-notch from start to finish. Known for creatively selecting, displaying, and making personalized wardrobe suggestions for each client, A Polished Man offers bow ties, cufflinks, socks, pocket squares, and every finishing touch a man needs. The best part of shopping there? Access to an owner who will boost your confidence and create a frustration-free process, teaching guests how to style and wear every fashionable add-ons.

Solo! West End

Located on South MainStreet in the heart of downtown Greenville, Solo! West End is renowned for its distinctive handmade jewelry, handwoven sweetgrass baskets, collectible figurines and calendars, unique apparel, and selected works of local and national artists. The tastemakers at Solo! West End are one of Surcee’s first stops when we need a unique gift for a friend with great taste.


For each of these entrepreneurs, their shops are not just businesses, but part of a calling to improve our community and the lives within it.

Celeste Purdie, who defied the odds to open Foot Solutions amidst a global pandemic, is inspired by the joy of serving others: “When I hear about the transformations that our customers achieve, it drives me to put my all into increasing our brand here in South Carolina. I know that we are transforming lives, one heart and two feet at a time.”

There are more than 2 million Black-owned businesses in the United States

Greenville native Tiffane Davis and her husband, Charles, built A Polished Man from their mission to empower men. “We designed the A Polished Man experience to be simple and inspirational. We make each decision, from the showroom and customer service to even product offerings, based on how our customer defines and wants to present himself. Our team meets customers where they are and gets them where they want to be,” Tiffane noted. Community outreach is also core to the couple’s efforts, as they remain deeply committed to investing in the area’s next generation of leaders.


High-end men’s shop A. Smith Clothiers was founded ten years ago by Dr. Arthur Smith, a Greenville doctor with a noticeable flair for style. Dr. Smith attributes his success to listening to customers’ wants and needs, putting them first, and investing in a comfortable and aesthetically pleasing shopping experience.

He emphasizes how critical the city’s business community has been in his retail success: “Because Greenville and the Upstate are destination locations, we, as retailers, are ambassadors. We must always put our best foot forward and represent not just our respective businesses but the entire the community well.”

Surcee celebrates the achievements of these dedicated entrepreneurs and their immense value in serving and building a better Greenville.

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