6 Tampa Bay Black-Owned Businesses You Should Know About

LARGO — Happy visitors in T-shirts touting Black excellence moved in throngs through Pinewood Cultural Park on Saturday for the Pinellas African American Heritage Celebration.

The event sprawled throughout the campus that’s home to the Florida Botanical Gardens, Heritage Village and Creative Pinellas.

People stroll through the gardens during the Pinellas African American Heritage Celebration at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo. [ MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times ]

In 2022, the festival returned after a ten-year hiatus. Shauné Ferguson, the senior coordinator of strategic partnerships with Pinellas County Schools, was tapped to take charge.

Pinellas County student artwork based on Black history and culture was on display in the Gallery at Creative Pinellas. Performances from poets, a gospel chorus, the Melrose Elementary dance team and the Gibbs High School marching band permeated the air on the sunny day.

Kindel Potts, 8, with the Melrose Elementary Petals, performs a dance solo during the Pinellas African American Heritage Celebration at Pinewood Cultural Park in Largo. [ MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times ]
African fabrics seen at the Pinellas African American Heritage Celebration in Largo. [ MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times ]

Ferguson said the main goal of the celebration is to give exposure to Black-owned businesses and artists.

“We want to showcase Black culture,” she said. “What we find is that the people that attend are just so excited and so engaged to find these new business vendors.”

Here are six Black-owned businesses to check out beyond the festival.

Just 1 Taste

It was hard to find the back of the line for this food truck selling St. Louis-style barbecue. Owners Jerome and La Tonya Buggs moved to St. Petersburg from St. Louis, infusing regional flavor in their catering and food truck business. Menu items include steak tips, pork steak, smoked ribs and brisket and plates of fried fish and shrimp. just1tastecatering.com.

The Colour Brown

Art displayed at the Pinellas African American Heritage Celebration. [ MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times ]

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Largo-based artist Kyle Brown has been creating his “art enterprise” since 2013. Brown, who said he has a master’s degree in fine art from Florida State University, makes mixed media pieces depicting notable artists like Marvin Gaye, Jimi Hendrix and Sade. He translates designs to stickers and T-shirts with phrases like “foxy lady” and “attention all melanated creatives.” Brown said he believes art is in the soul of every person. thecolourbrown.com.

Blingin’ with Britt

People shop at vendor Blingin’ With Britt at the Pinellas African American Heritage Celebration. [ MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times ]

Brittney Daniels hails from St. Petersburg and has been a consultant for the jewelry brand Paparazzi for eight years. Most of the jewelry at her tent was $5. Daniels usually sells on social media but has sold her products at the celebration since 2022. The event helps her connect to a new audience and find repeat customers, she said. blinginwithbritt.com.

LYS Body Care

This line of body butters and oils — its name an acronym for “love yourself” — is owned by Palmetto couple Shon and Shonda Church. Shonda Church made the products for years at home and decided to expand when the items became popular with her son’s friends. The butters and oils come in a variety of scents — the most popular is called Butt Naked. They also offer a cleanser for false eyelashes plus lip glosses, liquid African black soap and gel candles. lysbodycare.bigcartel.com.

TJ’s Soul & Grill Sandwich Shop

The line stayed long for this Largo-based eatery’s moonlight shrimp and sausage plates. Formerly known as Barb’s Wooden Spoon, TJ’s is known for Fish Fridays and Soul Food and Seafood Weekends. The business offers curbside, pick-up and deliveries only. 9033 Ulmerton Road, Largo. 727-518-6321.

Mz Sno Biz

This colorful St. Petersburg-based Italian and shaved ice truck has the tagline “a flurry of fun and flavor.” It was a hit with youngsters for flavors including cotton candy and tropical rainbow. The truck can be booked for parties or you can track it on social media. 727-306-9781. mzsnobiz.com.

  • Maggie Duffy is an art and dining reporter, covering Tampa Bay’s arts scene and the next new place to eat. Reach her at mduffy@tampabay.com.

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