Meet The Black Entrepreneur Who Owns 15 Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Stores

Antonio McBroom, a veteran business owner from North Carolina, has transformed his love for ice cream into a remarkable success story. He started out as a scooper at a local ice cream store, but now he owns 15 Ben & Jerry’s stores in multiple cities. This makes him the company’s first CEO of a Black-owned and Black-led multi-unit franchise group.

Antonio’s journey with Ben & Jerry’s started during his college days when he worked as a regular employee. Fast forward to just days before his graduation, Antonio took a bold step and bought his very first Ben & Jerry’s store in Chapel Hill, NC which quickly became a hit.

Since then, he has expanded to 15 locations across Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, Washington D.C., and Florida. 

“I’m an ice cream connoisseur,” he told Spectrum Local News. “That’s what drew me to the job in the first place. I started as a scooper back when I was in college at UNC, and I had a milkshake as my first menu item, and that was one of the perks of working on the job. So, I’ve been sticking with it ever since.”

But Antonio’s journey doesn’t stop at ice cream. He’s also the owner of a Starbucks franchise in the southeast. Being an entrepreneur was always his dream, and working with Ben & Jerry’s provided him with a platform to grow that dream.

Antonio takes immense pride in giving back to the community, just as he once received support. He leads a dedicated team that allocates a portion of the profits from all 15 Ben & Jerry’s locations to support upcoming and small Black-owned businesses.

“Small businesses have a heartbeat for the community, and we’re plugged in a way that a lot of large corporations can’t,” he said. “I’ve always been an advocate for small businesses and really enjoy being a small business owner.”

“One of the responsibilities of being a Black entrepreneur is just showing others what’s possible. I know that a lot of folks growing up don’t see cases of Black excellence, and so for me to be a model, an example for folks in my community of just what’s possible,” he added.

Be sure to follow him and his business adventures on Instagram @AntonioMcBroom_


Black CEO And Pitmaster Still Running Family Restaurant His Uncle Started Almost 90 Years Ago

For nearly three decades now, Derrick McCray has served as the CEO of McCray’s Backyard BBQ and Seafood, a Black family-owned restaurant in West Palm Beach, Florida. His great-uncle, Jay Harvey, opened the restaurant almost 90 years ago in 1934. As both CEO and pitmaster, Derrick has worked hard to preserve the restaurant using his family’s rich traditions and flavors that have delighted patrons for decades.

“Uncle Jay brought my father up in the barbecue business and made him a barbecue extraordinaire,” he told CNBC. “He was the barbecue man. And he was pretty much the only black restaurant business in his area during that time.”

In the midst of historical challenges, from segregation to the civil rights movement, the restaurant served as a safe haven for people to enjoy a good meal and companionship. Over the years, the restaurant stood strong against several challenges, even threats from the Klan. But the “war on drugs” in 1971 took a toll on the community and the business.

Derrick stepped up to restore the family business, following in his father and uncle’s footsteps. But his journey to becoming CEO was not without twists and turns.

While studying business management at Florida A&M University, an HBCU, he was sidetracked by the life of a student-athlete. He had to leave college earlier than planned, but he learned to hustle during this time, selling hotdogs and even starting a magazine with a friend. He also played professional football but it was a career cut short because of his off-field activities. Those setbacks eventually led him back to the family BBQ business.

Despite the changing times, McCray’s Backyard BBQ and Seafood continues to cook with open pit wood, preserving the authentic flavors passed down through generations. Their signature barbecue sauce and desserts reflect the family’s cherished recipes.

The restaurant’s success is evident, generating $1.58 million in revenue last year, with a $230,000 annual net profit. They’ve served esteemed guests, including presidents and musicians, and at events like the Super Bowl.

Moreover, Derrick has ambitious plans for the future. He aims to expand the family business nationwide, raising capital for his first franchise location. But his vision extends beyond profits. He is passionate about hiring and mentoring young Black and Hispanic people, teaching them skills from cooking to running a business, all aimed at creating generational wealth. His two sons are also being groomed to continue the family tradition.

“It’s in my DNA to keep moving forward,” he said. “I don’t see a reason why the McCray’s can’t be like the Rockefellers or the Posts or other big families that have secured generational wealth.”

Learn more about McCray’s Backyard BBQ and Seafood via its official website at

Also, be sure to follow the restaurant on Instagram @McCrays_Backyard_BBQ


This 36-Year-Old Black CEO Sold $2.3M In Philly Cheesesteaks In Atlanta Last Year

Meet Derrick Hayes, a 36-year-old Philadelphia native and CEO of Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks, who sold over $2.3 million worth of Philly cheesesteaks in Atlanta just last year alone. He owns five restaurants in the area and is now on a mission to take his iconic sandwiches nationwide, aiming to open 100 franchise locations by 2025.

“I’m a visionary, I’m a dreamer.” Hayes told CNBC. “Franchising is something that I thought about years ago, but I didn’t have the experience or the team to do it.”

Hayes recently started the franchise process, nearly a decade since he started his business. In 2014, he opened a dessert shop at a gas station in Georgia called Big Dave’s Water Ice, which is named after his late father who ignited his entrepreneurial spirit. When he struggled with selling frozen treats, he decided to do cheesesteaks.

Hayes also had a challenging start with Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks but he got his big break when rapper and TV host Eve, a fellow Philadelphian, tried his cheesesteak. Eve raved about it on social media, boosting his business overnight.

In August 2019, Hayes opened his flagship store in downtown Atlanta. Unfortunately, the pandemic temporarily closed it in March 2020, and it was also damaged during the civil unrest following George Floyd’s murder. During these challenging times, Pinky Cole, founder of Slutty Vegan, a plant-based-food franchise, reached out to offer assistance. Their connection in business blossomed into romance, and they are now married with a growing family.

Moreover, Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks has seen remarkable growth, with his flagship Atlanta location generating over $2.3 million in revenue in the past year alone. The brand is expanding, with multiple locations in Georgia, including three inside Mercedes Benz Stadium. There’s also a location in suburban Atlanta, and one is set to open in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Now, Hayes wants to establish Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks in major cities across the country, seeking franchisees who share his vision. Initially, Hayes is seeking franchisees in the food industry, but he aspires to inspire those who may have faced legal issues, lack a college degree, or lack experience to pursue their business dreams.

“I want to deal with people who care about people. The customer is never wrong, we stand on that,” Hayes says. “I want people to feel like it’s theirs. Big Dave’s is not just a restaurant; we stand for the community, for peace, and for culture.”

Learn more about Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks via its official website at


Young Black Entrepreneur, 12-Year-Old Boy, Juggling School And Owning A Food Truck Business

Meet Mario Mack, a 12-year-old African-American boy from Fairfield, Alabama, who is the young entrepreneur behind J’s Pop-Up Shaved Ice. Starting when he was just 10 years old, he embarked on a journey to bring his business vision to life, all while keeping up with his studies.

From its start, Mario was driven to succeed like his mom, who inspired his independent spirit and paved the way for him.

“She really liked to work for herself, and I saw that, like, early on when she started and I thought it was really cool,” Mario told CBS42. “So, I wanted to do my own thing and start a food truck.”

Fast forward two years, and he bought his first trailer. Now, he’s on a mission to expand and level up his business by investing in a larger one. This ambitious young entrepreneur is saving up for that big step.

Urban Impact Birmingham, an organization helping new business minds like Mario’s, plays a role in his journey. Its program manager Courtney Craig said they are passionate about providing opportunities to all entrepreneurs. From programs to capital access, they’re dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship in the community, especially young entrepreneurs which has been increasing lately.

“It’s necessary. We need to have a wraparound approach in our community when we’re serving entrepreneurs and we need our kids to have something productive,” Courtney said.

For Mario, his business isn’t just a side hustle — it’s his passion. Despite his tender age, he’s living out his entrepreneurial dreams. And he already has his future plans set out, saying, “I want to own my own restaurant and I want to be able to cook.”

But Mario’s dreams aren’t just his own; he wants to inspire fellow young minds. He firmly believes that with determination, anything’s possible. He’s an example of turning passion into reality.

Moreover, balancing school during the week and running his business on weekends, Mario makes the most of his time. He’s also a kind-hearted soul, often setting up shop at local parks in Birmingham. There, he treats the homeless to free shaved ice at least once a month.

Be sure to follow J’s Pop-Up Shaved Ice on its official Facebook page.


Black Woman From DC Makes History, Opens First And Only Soul Food Restaurant In Mexico

Tiara Darnell, an African American female entrepreneur from Washington, DC, has brought a taste of home to Mexico City with the opening of Blaxicocina, the first and only successful soul food restaurant in the country’s capital city of more than 16 million residents. With a culinary journey that spans cultures and generations, Tiara’s flavorful creations are finding a warm embrace among both Black Americans and curious locals.

When Tiara first arrived in Mexico City in 2021, she says that she quickly realized that her beloved Old Bay seasoning wasn’t as common in the area as it was in her hometown in Maryland. She said it sparked the idea of opening Blaxicocina using recipes handed down by generations, according to DCist.

To bring the flavors of home to Blaxicocina, she relied on a surprising source: her mother. She brought her bulk-sized containers from Restaurant Depot, meeting her need for Old Bay seasoned fries, among others. What’s more, the restaurant also offers other dishes that embody the heart of soul food like fried chicken, cornbread, carrot cake, and sweet tea.

However, crafting authentic soul food in Mexico posed unique challenges. Ingredients crucial for traditional recipes were hard to find. The cornmeal for her cornbread and the coating for fried green tomatoes had to be painstakingly crafted from scratch, the Mexican way. Collaborating with local farmers, she even sparked the growth of collard greens, a soul food staple not commonly found in Mexico.

Blaxicocina transcends its role as a restaurant; it’s a hub for a growing community of Black Americans who’ve chosen Mexico City as their new home. The restaurant even has ties to a “Blaxit” movement — a departure from the U.S. in search of a better life abroad. For Tiara, the decision was driven by a desire for a higher quality of life and escape from systemic racism.

Tiara’s inclusive approach extends beyond her menu. She’s striving to integrate with the local community, working with Mexican vendors, staff, and contractors. Her aim is to enrich the community rather than exploit it, fostering cultural exchange and mutual respect.

“Mexico City definitely feels like home. I have a really great community around me. I have friends that are family at this point, and I just feel really connected here, culturally, socially, in a way that I just didn’t in the U.S,” she said.

Be sure to follow Tiara and her restaurant on Instagram @Blaxicocina

Also, you can support the business by going to its location at Caleta 554, Narvarte Poniente, Benito Juárez, 03023 Ciudad de México, CDMX.


Ex-Convict Opens Vegan Donut Shop, First Ever Black-Owned Business In Brooklyn Heights, NYC

Derrick Faulcon, who was formally incarcerated for 11 years, is now the founder and CEO of Cloudy Donut Co., a vegan donut shop that just became the first-ever Black-owned business in Brooklyn Heights, New York City where the population is 72% white. Their donuts are 100% vegan, made with ingredients such as applesauce, coconut milk, and shortening instead of animal products.

“The goal for me is to show that an ordinary Black man can do extraordinary things,” Derrick said during an on-air interview with MSNBCHe continued, “We are the first and we are the only, but we don’t want to be the last.”

Cloudy Donut Co. officially opened its first shop in Baltimore, Maryland in 2020. Derrick says he was inspired to venture into the vegan donut business when he became a regular at a local vegan donut shop in Baltimore near a brunch restaurant that he owns called Home Maid. He reached out to the owners for a business partnership but was surprised as he was told they were actually open to selling the business.

Derrick immediately took the opportunity to take over the business. He revamped the shop’s branding while keeping its fully plant-based operations. Following the success of the first shop even amid the height of the pandemic, Cloudy Donut Co. opened its second Baltimore location after just a year.

As the brand seeks to “reverse gentrify,” Faulcon and his partner, Zewiditu Ruffin, have always chosen to open shops in predominantly white areas. They ultimately decided to open their third location in Brooklyn Heights, which is one of the wealthiest and upscale neighborhoods in New York City.

“Reverse gentrification is this ideology that we bring out Black-owned businesses into predominantly white, affluent neighborhoods in order to bring visibility, diversity, and awareness,” Zewiditu said.

The rather unusual business model has indeed caused the brand immense success. They often have long lines out the door with a lot of people raving about the mouthwatering fluffy vegan donuts on social media.

Cloudy Donut Co. currently has over 40 unique, tasty flavors with 8 different flavors being offered each week. The donuts are made with ingredients such as applesauce, coconut milk, and shortening instead of animal products. The shop also has two dog-friendly donut options for customers with companion dogs.

Learn more about Cloudy Donut Co. via its official website at

Also, be sure to follow the brand on Instagram @Cloudy_Donuts


23-Year-Old Black Entrepreneur Owns Her Own Poultry Farm, Egg Prices Not A Concern

Meet Ramokone Sannah Kwakwa, a 23-year-old entrepreneur who is the founder and CEO of New Dawn Poultry Farm which sells fresh chickens and eggs at affordable prices. Despite the increasing prices of eggs around the world, it has not become a problem for her.

In 2020, Kwakwa had just started college at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) in South Africa when the pandemic hit and classes on campus were canceled. While staying at home, the idea of poultry farming first came to her as she stumbled upon some YouTube videos about it. She ended up watching a lot of those videos and decided to try chicken farming herself.

Kwakwa pooled her own money and started the business in the vacant garage space at their house. With the practical skills she developed herself, she has been doing everything from raising chickens and collecting eggs to installing electrical cables and fixing the coops.

The New Dawn Poultry Farm offers both live and slaughtered chicken direct from the farm. They also sell table eggs, chicken manure, wood shavings, firewood, and mango atchaar, and they are aiming to expand their product line. Kwakwa makes sure to provide the best service at an affordable price, which led to having many loyal customers.

Moreover, she also shares her journey and experiences in poultry farming on social media. She currently has over 46,000 followers on TikTok and one of her videos showing her at work has nearly 1.7 million views.

To learn more about her farm, follow her on Facebook @TheNewDawnPoultryFarm


Black Mompreneur Launches All-Natural Food Products For Other Breastfeeding Mothers

Krystal Duhaney, an African American entrepreneur and mom herself from San Bernadino County, California, is the founder and owner of a popular lactation brand called Milky Mama. After struggling to breastfeed her son, she was inspired to create the brand to provide other moms with nutritious food and drink products that would help them while breastfeeding.

“I sought help from my healthcare provider and was told to ‘just give him formula,'” Duhaney told Ebony. “I was determined to breastfeed, so I educated myself and was able to breastfeed my son for two years.”

Duhaney, who is also a registered nurse, used her skills as well as her love for baking to develop a lactation-boosting cookie recipe when she had her second child. It was a success as it definitely increased her milk supply. Having experienced breastfeeding struggles herself, she thought she had to share her discovery with other moms who are also going through the same situation.

In 2015, she launched Milky Mama and offered a wide range of products that help breastfeeding mothers increase milk production such as cookies, brownies, drink mixes, and other herbal supplements. Aside from that, Duhaney’s company also provides support through online breastfeeding courses, lactation consultations, and support groups on Facebook and live Q&As.

Throughout her journey, Duhaney has also become an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant which was important for her since Black women lack representation in the field. For this reason, Duhaney also created the Milky Mama Scholarship Fund which aims to increase diversity in the lactation field by encouraging more Black women to become certified lactation consultants.

“Due to this lack of representation, it’s more difficult for Black breastfeeding mothers to get assistance from someone that understands the unique struggles that Black breastfeeding mothers may face. By increasing the representation in the lactation field, I hope that will also contribute to greater breastfeeding rates within the Black community and better outcomes for Black maternal health,” she said.

Learn more about the brand via its official web site at

Be sure to follow the brand on Instagram @MilkyMamaLLC


HBCU Grad Launches First Ever Black Woman-Owned Strip Mall Opens In Washington, DC

Angel Gregorio, a serial entrepreneur and Howard University alum, has launched the first-ever Black-owned strip mall in Washington, DC with affordable commercial space specifically for other Black women business owners.

In December 2021, Gregorio bought a 7,500-square-foot commercial property worth $1 million to expand her business The Spice Suite. The property looked dilapidated but she saw the potential to develop it into something that would benefit a lot of emerging local businesses.

Gregorio, who is a former school principal, has always wanted to make a positive impact in the community. She changed careers and opened The Spice Suite in 2015 to provide unique and special spice blends despite having no culinary background. Eventually, it evolved into a dream incubator for women that allows them to sell products in the shop for free.

Since then, Gregorio has hosted nearly 500 free pop-up shops for Black business owners, proving to be a go-to for small business incubation. As its reach continues to grow, The Spice Suite outgrew its first location, prompting Gregorio to move to a bigger one.

After over a year since buying the run-down property and remodeling it, Gregorio launched Black and Forth, a first-of-its-kind strip mall in Washington, DC that uses shipping containers to serve as commercial spaces. Now with a larger area, she created a new destination not just for The Spice Suite, but also for other businesses such as hair, brow, nail, and waxing salons.

Moreover, Gregorio aims to support and empower more businesses through commercial spaces, especially in cities like D.C. where the rent prices continue to increase unreasonably.

“I want this to become the model,” she shared during her ribbon-cutting ceremony, according to AfroTech. “I want to be able to consult for free and talk to other people on how to do this in your city, in your quadrant, so this becomes the standard of how we care for each other and how we show up for community.”

The strip mall is located at 2201 Channing St NE, Washington, DC 20018.

For more details, visit and be sure to follow the company on Instagram @Black.And.Forth