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By Jimese S. Orange

 

With Black women representing the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the country, meet a few of these women (with support of their husbands)

who have opened up shop. Here’s our guide to exciting new ways to

treat yourself and support African American businesses in the community.

 

 

Popbar Charlotte

3123 N. Davidson St.

Charlotte, NC 28205

980-237-9750

www.pop-bar.com/charlotte

 

Kia and Clarence Lyons had a dream of starting a business together. As a former ophthalmology researcher, Kia took a leap of faith to become a full-time entrepreneur with her husband. Now the couple have the Southeast on lockdown after opening the first Popbar franchise in the region. Popbar takes all-natural, handcrafted gelato, sorbet and frozen yogurt on a stick from basic to extraordinary with a plethora of dippings and toppings, for a fun experience of customizing your own unique sweet treat. Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, mint and white chocolate serve as dips, while toppings such as crushed waffle cone, pistachios, hazelnuts, almonds, coconut flakes, caramel corn and sprinkles offer endless custom combination options. These decadent and naturally preservative- and gluten-free pops are an indulgence worth treating yourself to.

 

Seasonal and holiday offerings keep the menu fresh, with flavors such as kiwi and watermelon to look forward to in the summer months. Lyons plans to add more vegan options to the menu, with gelato pops made with coconut and almond milks. She loves what she does, and it shows in the inviting and fun atmosphere of the shop.

 

“The customer interaction is fun. I love how creative it is,” said Lyons, with a big grin on her face. “You’d be surprised at how fun it is to dip and top a pop! It turns adults into children. You hear “Wow” and “Oh my God, I’m so excited” from adults when they start dipping and topping, which is really fun to watch.” You can bring the fun of these tasty treats to an event or gathering of your own with Popbar catering.

 

 

 

 

Airest Dion Wholistic Skin Therapy

1410 W. Morehead St.

Charlotte, NC 28208

704-594-1081

www.airestdion.com

 

Born of Airest Dion Newsome’s passion for holistic health and healing her own problematic skin, AirestDion Wholistic Skin Therapy opened in December 2016. As a graduate of Gaston College’s Esthetics Technology program, Newsome’s skills are sharp in techniques for facial treatments, such as deep cleansing, detoxifying and exfoliating skin for optimal health.

“I began researching a lot of ancient cultures and the origins of skin care….In these rituals, they were using base natural oils, hydrosols and clays,” she said. “I started putting together this protocol, using the standard steps for professional facial treatments and connecting the dots with what I knew to be the most effective natural ingredients, and begin using it on my skin. Within about four months, my skin was the clearest it had been in my entire life.”

This wealth of knowledge led to her create “The Airest Dion Natural Skin Care Collection,” which consists of nine products, including cleansers and toners, serums and moisturizers, exfoliators, masks and treatment products for all skin types. Customized daily, weekly and monthly, home care and professional treatments are recommended for clients based on their skin type and skin health goals. Services offered include facials, back treatments and body treatments. “This is your 30 or 60 minutes, where you can honestly allow your mind and body to rest,” said Newsome. Her goal is to offer a holistic therapeutic experience, with consultations that include guided relaxation meditation and pointers on nutrition and mind-body engaged activities that contribute to balancing emotions and stressors that can trigger imbalances in the skin. In the future, she plans to offer a continuing education certification program for estheticians, so people will be able to have the Airest Dion experience at other locations.

 

Just Cycle

428 E. 4th St., Ste 333

Charlotte, NC 28202

(980) 267-0998

justcycleclt.com

 

Porschea Kirby wants to make spinning simple again. She opened Just Cycle in uptown Charlotte in February to get back to the basics of spin – no pressure and fun.

 

Charlotte has its share of boutique spin studios, and most gyms feature spin classes. Kirby believes there’s room for her, too.

 

“I have such a deep passion for it,” Kirby said. “I almost get lost in the ride.”

 

A good playlist also helps. Kirby said her studio features hip hop, reggae and even gospel (the hype kind), alternative and house music. Kirby wants the music and eventually the clientele to represent her. Kirby has been spinning for three years, and laments that the classes aren’t diverse.

 

“I really want to appeal to our brothers and sisters. A lot of people have this fear about cycle,” said Kirby, who is works as full-time project manager. “If I can reach out to them, that would be ideal.”

 

The studio features 14 bikes. Kirby, a Johnson C. Smith University graduate, is one of two nationally-certified instructors who lead the classes. Cycling isn’t the easiest workout, but students can control the intensity of their experiences Unlike many other studios, Just Cycle doesn’t feature leaderboards or high-pressure coaching, she said.

 

“It’s fun!” she said. “We want to make sure you reach your fitness goals safely.”

 

 

Juice Box

3100 N. Davidson St.

Suite 101

Charlotte, NC 28205

980 495-6060

www.juiceboxcharlotte.com

 

A lifestyle change inspired Kimberly Wilkinson, a self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur, to open the Juice Box, a one-stop shop for all-natural, fresh, cold-pressed juices, smoothies and power-packed health shots. “I was trying to change my life and change my eating habits, juicing more at home, eliminating meat. I was ready for a change from owning a clothing boutique, and I’ve always wanted to work for myself,” said Wilkinson. The store is bright and refreshing, with minimalist decor, lots of natural light and greenery. The menu is healthy and fun, with juice names such as “Gin & Greens,” the “gin” for representing ginger, of course, not liquor.

 

Wilkinson chose to use cold-pressed versus the popular centrifugal method of juicing, to keep the fruit and vegetable nutrients intact and viable, to preserve their effectiveness for up to four days,; much longer than other juicing methods. The “Super Shots” have an added bonus, with edible essential oils included in recipes for kicking a cold to the curb, outsmarting a hangover and conquering allergies she said. You can customize your own smoothie with add-ons such as bee pollen, turmeric, vegan protein powders, maca and more. Be sure to try the fruit- and veggie-packed “Doctor’s Order” smoothie to go beyond just that apple a day. The rich fruit and vegetable pulp byproduct from all that juicing has inspired Wilkinson to extend the menu, with food items including homemade protein, fruit bars and acai bowls made with antioxidant-rich acai puree. It’s served in a thick, soft-serve ice cream-like consistency, with toppings such as shredded coconut, cacao nibs, granola, fresh fruit, honey, nuts and seeds to choose from. Fresh chopped salads will eventually be added to the menu, and expect extended hours for spring and summer months. “I love feeling like I’m adding a health aspect to someone’s life. Maybe even helping add years to people’s lives,” said Wilkerson.

 

 

 

Just Cycle

428 E. 4th St., Ste 333

Charlotte, NC 28202

(980) 267-0998

justcycleclt.com

 

Porschea Kirby wants to make spinning simple again. She opened Just Cycle in uptown Charlotte in February to get back to the basics of spin – no pressure and fun.

 

Charlotte has its share of boutique spin studios, and most gyms feature spin classes. Kirby believes there’s room for her, too.

 

“I have such a deep passion for it,” Kirby said. “I almost get lost in the ride.”

 

A good playlist also helps. Kirby said her studio features hip hop, reggae and even gospel (the hype kind), alternative and house music. Kirby wants the music and eventually the clientele to represent her. Kirby has been spinning for three years, and laments that the classes aren’t diverse.

 

“I really want to appeal to our brothers and sisters. A lot of people have this fear about cycle,” said Kirby, who is works as full-time project manager. “If I can reach out to them, that would be ideal.”

 

The studio features 14 bikes. Kirby, a Johnson C. Smith University graduate, is one of two nationally-certified instructors who lead the classes. Cycling isn’t the easiest workout, but students can control the intensity of their experiences Unlike many other studios, Just Cycle doesn’t feature leaderboards or high-pressure coaching, she said.

 

“It’s fun!” she said. “We want to make sure you reach your fitness goals safely.”

 

 

 

Le Macaron

1111 Metropolitan Ave.

Charlotte, NC 28204

980-299-5838

 

 

Macaron versus macaroon? Don’t know the difference? You will after one visit to Le Macaron, a café that specializes in French pastries.

 

Hortense and Moussa Bamba are the latest entrepreneurs to bring French pastries to Charlotte. The small café, tucked away on the bottom level of the Metropolitan, features 20 different types of macarons, ranging from the popular Salted Caramel to creative flavors such as Basil White Chocolate.

 

The Bambas, who are originally from the Ivory Coast, opened one of the first N.C.NC franchises of the Sarasota-based company in November.

 

“This was a good opportunity for her [Hortense]to come up with something that can be unique,” Moussa Bamba said. “Our store is lovely. We welcome everybody here, and would like people to come taste some real French pastries.”

 

His wife makes croissants daily, and these don’t taste like the ones in the grocery store, Bamba said proudly. The handmade chocolates are shipped from the Florida confectionary. The café has a rotating lineup of gelato imported from France. And no sweet tooth craving would be complete without a cup of rich coffee to wash it down. The pastry shop’s coffee is a yummy blend of French roast, Ethiopian and Brazilian beans.

 

Eventually, Hortense Bamba would like to have her own line of French desserts, such as specialty cakes. For now, the couple will focus on delighting patrons with the tasty French cookie sandwiches and fluffy croissants.

 

 

Additional reporting for this article was done by Tonya Jameson.

 

 

 

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