Charlotte Shopping Mall Thrives On Becoming ‘Black Mecca’ For Black-Owned Businesses 

Thanks to Black-owned businesses, the Northlake Mall is now thriving.

Things may be turning around for Northlake Mall in Charlotte, North Carolina, thanks to Black-business owners. 

Looking for a fresh start following financial woes and growing crime rates, Northlake is embracing Black businesses in hopes they will turn things around. Entrepreneurs like Danyell Butler, co-owner of Modified Kicks, said, lots of the negative rumors have been silenced. Like many other business owners, Butler says things have been difficult but he is grateful for the space. “If we go back just a couple of years, I was homeless sleeping in a car,” Butler said.

But with some paint and paintbrushes, his creative niche with shoes and clothes has turned things around. “To reach the level we have now, it’s kind of unreal. It is becoming more of a Black mecca. It’s becoming a smorgasbord of companies that have unique styles,” Butler said.

Butler’s business is just one of several new Black-owned additions to the Queen City-based shopping center. As of November 2023, Northlake has welcomed some of Charlotte’s favorites including Charlotte’s Nails, Vixen Ready Art Factory, 3Six92, D. Williams Suits, and Destination Sweets, according to WSOC-TV. The additions proved healthy growth for the space — bringing the mall’s occupancy to 85%, higher than the 2022 holiday season being at 74%. 

Mall officials say in total there are now 19 Black-owned businesses at the mall, making up 17% of all businesses there. Ranging from bakeries to nail salons to sharply tailored suits, General Manager of Northlake Mall. Adam Kamlet, says he is excited to present such a diverse offering. “We are excited to welcome these outstanding retailers to Northlake Mall. With a diverse range of offerings, including locally owned businesses, our shoppers will find something special for every occasion,” Kamlet said in a statement.

With the love of online shopping capturing the heart of consumers following the COVID-19 pandemic, small businesses are the target to rekindle the relationship with customers and brick-and-mortar stores. LaToya Evans, owner of Charlotte’s Nails, says she doesn’t think it’s a coincidence that violence has gone down with Black-owned businesses being present. 

She feels that by investing in Charlotte entrepreneurs, others can witness the shift in the culture, providing opportunities to see dreams come true and create generational wealth at the same time. “Being able to have more Black-owned businesses isn’t just great for the economy within the Black community, but it’s great for the local economy,” Evans said. 

“It’s great for our city to be able to say that anyone can come here, and anyone can thrive.”

The issue of crime may still be an issue. On March 19, an employee was murdered at a restaurant close by, but security measures have beefed up with the addition of gun-sniffing dogs, cameras, and a heavier police presence.

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