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Father And Son Make History, Open First Black-Owned UPS Store In Buffalo, New York

Meet father and son duo, Dr. Uzo Ihenko and Kelechi Chillis-Ihenko, who have made history by opening Western New York’s first Black-owned UPS store in the city of Buffalo. Both passionate about serving their community, the two introduced the much-needed asset in the area.

Growing up in Buffalo, Kelechi saw the lack of essential services in their community, and now he’s thrilled to fill that need. After recently earning his MBA, he established the shipping and delivery store in Buffalo with his father. His father, Dr. Uzo, believes their family business is paving the way for others.

“People are seeing the future in their life and other businesses will copy and then other jobs will come,” Dr. Uzo told WKBW.

Besides shipping, delivery, and printing services, this UPS location offers fingerprinting services, making it convenient for those in need of background checks.

This UPS store has even more to offer. Dr. Uzo reveals their plans to turn the back part of the building into affordable apartments and office spaces, providing opportunities for the community to grow and thrive. This people-first approach is what they attribute their success to.

“If you’re not people first the people aren’t going to support you,” Kelechi said. “So you want to have anything you do be people-focused so that will help you be successful in business.”

Moreover, they are committed to staying in Buffalo for generations to come, bridging the gap between communities and businesses. Dr. Uzo said, “I told them we’re here to stay. We’re part of you and we’re here. So don’t forget it’s not only for them. It’s also for downtown people.”

Also, you can support the business by visiting its location at 345 Broadway, Buffalo, NY 14204.

black-entrepreneur-does-homework,-now-owns-20-airport-restaurants-to-hit-$50m-in-revenue-this-year

Black Entrepreneur Does Homework, Now Owns 20 Airport Restaurants To Hit $50M In Revenue This Year

Meet Randy Hazelton, the 43-year-old CEO of H&H Hospitality, a Black-owned company that runs concession stands and restaurants in major U.S. airports. Starting from scratch and learning from his past, he now runs over twenty different airport restaurants, employing nearly 100 people. He owns multiple Shake Shack and Auntie Anne’s stands, and his company is on track to hit $50 million in revenue this year.

Growing up in a military family, he moved around a lot and eventually settled in Atlanta. He credits his dad for instilling discipline in him. But as a teen, Randy often skipped homework to play basketball because he said he enjoyed it more than just sitting down and studying.

When he ventured in a business and went through tough times, he realized his bad habits when he was a teenager. In 2006, he left his job to open Café Circa, a restaurant and bar in downtown Atlanta. While the business did well, it wasn’t efficient enough and eventually led to bankruptcy. Randy realized the reason was that they didn’t understand the restaurant business.

“We didn’t know how to make money because we didn’t do the homework,” Randy told Forbes. He sold Café Circa in 2012 and used the money to start his franchising operation.

Hazelton founded H&H Hospitality in 2007 and they’ve been thriving with the support of a government program called Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Act (ACDBE), which supports minority and women-owned businesses at federally funded airports.

“It changed my life,” he said. He calls the program a “springboard” for smaller companies aiming to expand in restaurant franchising.

One of H&H’s spots is a Freshens yogurt and Famous Famiglia pizzeria at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, one of the busiest in the world. They’ve also teamed up with Concessions International for a Shake Shack and Auntie Anne’s restaurant on another concourse. Next year, the company plans to open a Slutty Vegan, a popular plant-based burger brand owned by entrepreneur Pinky Cole.

Moreover, the business has its challenges, including fees, advertising costs, and managing employees. To overcome those and succeed, Randy transformed himself into a “homework nerd” and used a copy-and-paste formula of what already works.

“Borrow from other folks,” he says. “Some of the greatest successes are just copycats of something already here.”

Be sure to follow him on Instagram @RandyHazelton and follow his company as well @HH_Hospitality

chris-brown-facing-$2m-lawsuit-for-unsettled-popeyes-chicken-franchise-loan

Chris Brown Facing $2M Lawsuit For Unsettled Popeyes Chicken Franchise Loan

Singer Chris Brown, known for his share of controversies over the years, is now facing some serious financial trouble. He is now being sued by City National Bank after taking out a huge loan to buy 2 Popeyes Chicken franchises and has not yet paid back.

According to legal documents obtained by The Blast, City National Bank claims Brown owes them a whopping $2,140,901, which includes the principal amount and interest. This loan dates back to 2018, and despite the bank’s efforts, the money remains unpaid.

Initially, the lawsuit was filed in Georgia, where the courts ruled in favor of the bank. Now, the battle has shifted to Los Angeles, where Brown resides.

Even though there are others listed as borrowers in the lawsuit, including Grammy Award-winning producer The Dream, the bank made it clear in the documents that Chris Brown is the one personally responsible for repaying the loan.

meet-the-black-entrepreneur-who-owns-15-ben-&-jerry’s-ice-cream-stores

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_

this-36-year-old-black-ceo-sold-$2.3m-in-philly-cheesesteaks-in-atlanta-last-year

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 BigDavesWay.com