If you’re familiar with the blog, you know that I started a Black-owned business directory in 2020 to amplify Black voices and entrepreneurship in our community. It’s been so amazing to watch this list grow with so many incredible businesses. To celebrate Black History Month, I want to go a step further and get to know a few of the business owners listed in the directory. Check back weekly to learn about someone new!
Taylor Bailey-Hopkins and the beautiful work she does with Skeleton Park Creations was put on my radar when I first started the Black-Owned business directory. As soon as I saw her earrings, I wanted a pair. I love the designs and colours and they are affordable, too! Learn more about Taylor and why she started Skeleton Park Creations below.
It’s February, it’s Black History month! Growing up in Kingston this meant it was the one time in school that educators would cram in the very complicated and complex histories of the the Black diaspora into the shortest month of the year. In the Kingston community, it didn’t feel like a celebration. Any important and empowering Black history I learned was handed down to me from my parents and books my mom would buy me by Black authors like Toni Morrison. It was never centred on the Black community that chose to live in Kingston and its impact.
I am happy to say that Black History Month feels different this year. After I shared about my experiences last year and started the Black-owned business directory, I’ve met so many incredible and talented Black people who have not only chosen to live in Kingston and the surrounding area but are growing businesses, conducting important research and creating change. I am here for it.
Please note that this post has been updated to include menu updates and additional menu options from new restaurants!
Generally speaking, there’s not much to do these days but eat, walk and nap. Lockdown life is lame, yes. But Kingston restaurants are trying to make the best of it and offering up some delicious, pre-fixe menus to accommodate all needs: Want a romantic, hot dinner for two? They’ve got it. Want a family meal? No problem. Vegan? There’s something for you. Prefer to take and bake? You see where this is going. The nice thing about the menu options is that the theme is ‘healthy choices’ so it’s very in line with many new year’s resolutions to ditch junk food and pack in the nutrients.
I typically love to cook but over the course of the pandemic, I’ve realized that I don’t actually like it that much. Before having our daughter we could just grab a bowl of cereal in a crunch but parenthood means full status adulting has kicked in and thinking of balanced meals 24/7 is not really that fun haha. Enter, the take and bake! With another lockdown in full swing, I’m sure many will be drained from cooking holiday meals and when the leftovers run out, might not want to take to the kitchen for long durations! These are a few spots around town that offer great local take and bake options. Many of these places curate their ingredients locally and the dishes are made in-house so there are less preservatives which is always great! Perfect way to support our local businesses through another challenging time. Check out my list! I know I’ve likely missed some, feel free to share your favourites in the comment section!
Bella Market: I like the curried chickpeas and the beef madras! They also have curry sauces, pulled pork, soups and more tasty options.
I don’t even know if the term “lit” is popular anymore but I am going to roll with it for the purpose of this post which is to tell you about Kingston’s beautiful light installation downtown. The bright, twinkling, (they literally twinkle), lights are certainly needed at the end of this dreadful year. No, they will not act as the light at the end of this pandemic tunnel, however, with Christmas around the corner it’s important to find the silver-linings available to us and hold on tight to them! We can’t control the current state of the world but we can control how we react to the madness! Continue reading →
I am going to preface this post by saying the whole reason I started this blog was to share great experiences I have in our community. Most of the time it’s related to food and I am always happy to support local. This post is a little different! It’s about our recent trade in experience at CarLoft.ca’s Kingston‘ location. It was awesome enough that I feel the need to tell you about it.
About a month ago (when we were not in the middle of a severe covid outbreak for our region) we finally decided to test drive a vehicle we had our eyes on. For full context, we bought a brand new truck five years ago and we are over it. It was very much the Kingston thing to do coming from the GTA (a driveway, no street parking, shorter commutes = truck). But it’s not practical. And we’ve been talking about trading it in for months. I digress…So about a month ago we test drove a vehicle and liked the salesperson who helped us, Devon, so we grabbed his business card. Three weeks later after more consideration, we texted Devon to follow up. Fast-forward and we have said goodbye to our truck (we named it Buck) and hello to our newer, more affordable, SUV (name tbd). If you’ve been patient enough to read this far, thanks for sticking it out. Continue reading →
As we countdown to the official holiday season, I’ve been saying over and over that it’s important to support our local businesses! Looking for gifts? Support local. Looking for food? Support local. Almost everything on your list can be found locally! And believe it or not this local spirit applies to cider! Do you like Strongbow? We have a local supplier that you can support for your cider needs. Enter, The Hard Way Cider Co, located in Bath (don’t worry, they deliver!). It’s locally owned, artisanal, bone dry, hard cider that is gluten-free. Continue reading →
After I shared the original Holiday Shopping Guide, I did a call out in my Instagram stories to ask which local shops I missed. Our community is so passionate about supporting small business, the list grew and grew! After a very scientific (cough, an instagram poll, cough ) asking if I should turn the community-curated list on Instagram into an official post, the response was yes. So, here it is. This list is a collection of community suggestions to continue shopping local. I discovered many new gems! Thank you to everyone who sent along their favourite spots. I can keep updating once a week with new shops if you have any recommendations. Share them in the comments. Continue reading →
Access to equity or capital is one of the biggest obstacles for Black and Indigenous owned business. Black, Indigenous and People of Colour are often overlooked due to a history of systemic racism. Many are left needing to use personal bank loans and this issue has been spotlighted during the challenges of COVID-19. It means that many small businesses do not qualify for the federal emergency funding from the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA). According to a recent article in The Star, “While the government expanded CEBA eligibility to include businesses with a payroll between $20,000 and $1.5 million (the initial range was $50,000 to $1 million), for the many Black-owned businesses that hire on a contractual basis or are not large enough, this funding is inaccessible.” Continue reading →